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REVIEWS I t is hardly necessary to add that this book deserves to be read by all who are capable of appreciating its extensive learning and the excellence of its style. The reading is not always easy, because the subjects require careful attention, and philosophy, as William James said, is a more than usually obstinate way of thinking. But it ranges widely over the questions which are considered most significant in modern thought and it contains some characteristic epigrams, such as the remark, "a popular religion is a superstition which has enslaved a philosophy," or the acute comment on the difference between space and time that "most of us wish to be immortal, but no one wishes to be ubiquitous." If we cannot say without qualification that Dean Inge has, wholly reconciled the creed of the astronomers with the aspirations of the religious consciousness, it is certain that he has kept the discussion on a high plane of learning and wisdom, justifying his belief that St. Paul might have said to this generation, "Now abideth Truth, Beauty, Love, these three, but the greatest of these is Love." To appreciate this paraphrase the astronomers may need to look up the original! THE ART OF THE NOVEL* JOSEPH WARREN BEACH Mr. Pelham Edgar is singularly well equipped to write on the ' art of the novel. To' begin' wi th, there is no mistaking the genuineness of his interest in the novel as an aesthetic product, and his concern with every consideration , broad or narrow, that has bearing on the way novels are fashioned to get their effects. There IS a *Tht A" oj (he NODtl, by Pelham Edgar, MacmilJans in Canada. 257 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY quiet fervour in his tone that shows he means business, and at the same time an openness of mind that keeps him from pronouncing judgment crudely or prematurely, and declaring that such and such is the one right way of doing things for all time. His is a faith without fanaticism, an independence without pugnacity. (For these high virtues, it may be, the vulgar will pronounce him a Laodicean, a sitter astride of fences, and-a college professor!) He has the catholicity and imagination requisite for anyone who is to review the English novel from John Lyly to Virginia Woolf and to interpret the art of Fielding and Sterne, Eliot and Conrad, Dorothy Richardson and Aldous Huxley. He has spent his life with the English classics, and formed his taste upon them. But while they haveĀ·given him standards, they have not given him infallible rules of judgment nor made him prone to excommunication for heresy. History has taught him that literature is a growing organism, and that whoever would be a critic of literature must keep on growing along with his subject. Mr. Edgar has, clearly, his own preferences in literary form and tone, but he can generally stretch his mind, without too great distress, to the appreciation of tones and forms not congenial to his conditioned taste. He is particularly happy in his comments on style, and the book is strewn with penetrating obiter dicta like this upon Norman Douglas and Aldous Huxley: "In the notation of character there is perhaps a sharper accent [in Douglas1, for I he is not quite so much at the mercy of his own brilliance I as the younger writer." Or this on Hemingway and I Dos Passos: "Dos Passos has nothing of this slovenly f continuousness [of Hemingway's] in his writing. But i there is a staccato aspect of Hemingway's style that he I c.an reproduce with an even more biting realistic effect." . REVIEWS Mr. Edgar's chief aim is "to present a systematic study of the structural evolution of the English novel." In the chapter on "Essentials" he offers a most acute and illuminating analysis of the chief points of structural technique involved,-matters like the relation of design to plot, the handling of dialogue, description, point of view. "In what follows, great books and authors from I700 to the present day are interpreted with a view to ascertaining what has been the mairi drift of fiction, and for the purpose of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 257-260
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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