Fall 1945 • Vol. VII No. 4 Nonfiction |

Subjectivity in Modern Fiction

What appears on first reading to be most "serious" or impressive in current fiction turns out nearly always to be most evanescent in recollection. We are so ready to sympathize with a writer's ideal of passion, his knowledge of the subjective, his will to write concretely. But occasionally a novel appears which, like Jackson's Lost Weekend or Robert Molloy's recent Pride's Way, seems altogether naive or vulgar in thought, values, form, style; yet contains a solidity of characterization far more memorable than anything produced by the educated will. The joke of this whole schism between intelligentsia and public lies in the extent to which both camps have succumbed to the same disease: the habit of mistaking knowledge for truth. Under the banners of Enlightenment the "philistines" are actually keeping alive some remnants of mystery and subjective truth, while under the banners of subjectivity — Freud, Kierkegaard, Augustine—the avant-gardists become more abstract with every year

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By Marjorie Farber

What appears on first reading to be most "serious" or impressive in current fiction turns out nearly always to be most evanescent in recollection. We are so ready to sympathize […]

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