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ANGLO-AMERICAN FICTION THEORY 1947-1972

NORMAN FRIEDMAN
Studies in the Novel
Vol. 8, No. 2 (summer 1976), pp. 199-209
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29531784
Page Count: 11
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ANGLO-AMERICAN FICTION THEORY 1947-1972
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Abstract

Although the development of recent theories of the novel has been strongly shaped by modernist poetics, certain reactions have produced divergencies—moving on the one hand toward Life as the criterion, and on the other toward broadening the formal base—in the attempt to do more justice to the novel as a form different from the lyric. During 1947-51 the Jamesian criteria of objectivity and consistency were fully established, and yet Bentley and Blackmur could question such extreme formalism. Frye and R. S. Crane developed ways of defining differing forms closer to the larger structures of fiction. Studies of point of view, time, subjectivity, etc. burgeoned during 1952-59, and controversy raged among such critics as Rahv and Stallman over Symbolism vs. Realism. During 1959-72 Lodge stood firmly on the old poetic ground, Booth produced a full-scale attack on Jamesian norms, while others argued either in favor of Life or of a pluralism of forms. The issue of open-endedness came to the fore during 1966-72, and with it an emphasis upon radical experimentation. Modernist poetics is still with us, then, but it has been enlarged by other approaches, and perhaps it is time for varied means-end theories vs. a single standard. Bibliographical notes. (NF)

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