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"novels With A Purpose" And The Art Of Fiction

"novels With A Purpose" And The Art Of Fiction image
Parent Issue
Day
6
Month
February
Year
1903
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

5ggjggyaS TO "NOVELS W1TH A PURPOSE," I AM INCLINED UYJBY TO THINK THAT IF A NOVELIST IMAGINES THAT Mi m( HE OR SHE IS GOING TO CONQUER ART BY MUCH WmJkrxi " PREACHING, THAT THE NOVEL IS MERELY THE ' L4 SL.1) PAMPHLET OR THE SERMÓN WRIT LONG, THAT fcJ "PROSE IS VERSE AND VERSE IS MERELY PROSE," " THEN, IN THE WORDS OF GOLDSMITH, "NOTHING CAN EXCEED THE VANITY OF HIS EXISTENCE BUT THE FOLLY OF HIS PURSUITS." It is no good opening out "cauld harangiies on practice and on inoráis." NOTHING HAS ANY POWER IN THE WORLD OF ART BUT THE THINGS OF FEELING AND THE THINGS OF BEAUTY. On that we all agree. What is sincere, what touches the artist tefore it is offered to the public, that we all agree is the first, alraost the ohly, condition of gpod work. If the play of religious opinión or social reform or political power as it affects human life is what interests the writer, and if that writer is drawn toward the form of the novel, what authority bars the way? Some of the greatest authorities of the world are on his side. The only points to be considered are: Can he touch other minds? Can he throw what he has to say into shapes that move and live? And these turn upon another question, Can he see these things and reproduce tliem not as tho student sees and reproduces them, but as the artist sees them interpreted through the forms of human life and interfused with beauty or with terror ? If he can, let the critic say what he will. THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF TOLSTOI'S "RESURRECTION" IS TO LEAD UP TO THESE LAST PAGES IN WHICH A MAN OF BURNING SINCERITY PRESSES UPON EUROPE A NEW VIEw'oF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE. For that purpose he has carried the whole marvelous load of that book, and but for the purpose he would never have lifted it. ', Are you going to glorify the book and denounce the purpose ? Perfectly true that the purpose is nothing without the art, but humanity, the reader, the true and ultímate public, will take care of that.