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114 human rather than subangelic, explaining in his response to a Flemish painting or to a dream in which he is blessed by a dwarfed old woman with the hair of an angel. The supporting characters in the novel are correspondingly judged in terms of their contribution to the hero's subangelic condition. Einhom is regarded both as a response to the cultural environment of the twenties and a figure of its myth of realism. As such he is speculatively compared to Hemingway’s characters. Yet Einhom’s ceaseless struggle not to let things be determined for him is the antithesis of the Hemingway hero, whom Bellow rejected in the opening passages of Dangling Man. Similarly Mintouchian, whom Dutton calls “shady and cold,” is, on the contrary, described by Augie as “a monument of a person . . . very open handed, a grand goodtime Charlie.” Resisting as finally too limiting the appeal of these as well as other manipulators, Augie nonetheless attempts to balance their insistence on shaping their destinies with his countering intuition of passive authenticity. That Bellow believes in the value of this continuing struggle is suggested in Augie’s triumphant response to the naturalistic forces with which the novel concludes and by his continued buoyancy in the face of his unresolved situation. The pressure of delimiting Bellow’s novels within the subangelic vision, then, neglects this central tension, a tension which develops out of the conflict between the self inflating effort of man to choose his own fate and the acceptance of a given but at the same time unique and common destiny. Bellow admittedly is often unclear about how that fate breaks down the barriers that isolate human beings and so opens them to love while at the same time conforms to the authentic qualities that define the individual. More importantly, however, the opposition between the independent fate with all of its manipulative necessities and its need for disguise and the passive but regenerative authenticity of love is undercut by Bellow’s implicit scepticism about the value of love itself. One after another of his characters affirm the importance of love in sustaining their existence, as has Bellow himself in several of his essays. Typically, Eugene Henderson insists that “whatever gains I ever made were always due to love.” Yet for all of these heroes love proves a destructive experience against which the unconscious movement of their lives seems to strain. Joseph, for example, speaks of freedom but is drawn toward the army, Leventhal toward Allbee, Wilky toward a funeral, Sammler toward Elya Gruner, all toward death as the fulfillment of their hearts’ ultimate need. Any meaningful evaluation of Bellow’s fiction, then, must judge its affirmation against this countercurrent, focusing on the human fallibility against which any gains of the spirit must be made. Stanley Trachtenberg TWO RECENT HAWTHORNE STUDIES Hyatt H. Waggoner, an old Hawthorne hand, in 1966 lamented the fact that Hawthorne's critical stock seemed to be declining, especially so soon after the celebration of Hawthorne’s centenary year of 1964. Happily, Waggoner has been proved wrong, if what has happened between 1967 and 1973 is any indicator; in fact, Hawthorne studies have never been in a more bullish state! By my own casual count, I have noted some eight Hawthorne books in the last fourteen months or so; and, 115 even more happily, many of them are solid and substantive contributions to ongoing Hawthorne criticism. Two of the better ones are Neal Frank Doubleday’s H aw thorn’s Early Tales, A Critical Study (Durham: Duke University Press, 1972). Cloth: $7.75, 262 pp. and John E. Becker’s Hawthorne's Historical Allegory: An Examination of tke~American Conscience (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1971). Cloth: $9.95, 186 pp. And strangely enough, in one sense, these two books have a commonality of theme: Hawthorne as fictive historian. Such a theme, of course, is not new to Hawthorne criticism, but never has it had such illuminating and concentrated attention as in the last several years. Doubleday is of the old historical-biographical school. He is circumspect in almost everything he says about Hawthorne’s early tales (he examines twenty-three of them...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-5806
Print ISSN
0091-8083
Pages
pp. 114-116
Launched on MUSE
2015-05-05
Open Access
No
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