Good Novels Don’t Have to Be Hard Work - WSJ.com: "But let's look back for a second at where the Modernists came from, and what exactly they did with the novel. They drew a tough hand, historically speaking. All the bad news of the modern era had just arrived more or less at the same time: mass media, advertising, psychoanalysis, mechanized warfare. The rise of electric light and internal combustion had turned their world into a noisy, reeking travesty of the gas-lit, horse-drawn world they grew up in. The orderly, complacent, optimistic Victorian novel had nothing to say to them. Worse than nothing: it felt like a lie. The novel was a mirror the Modernists needed to break, the better to reflect their broken world. So they did.
One of the things they broke was plot. To the Modernists, stories were a distortion of real life. In real life stories don't tie up neatly. Events don't line up in a tidy sequence and mean the same things to everybody they happen to. Ask a veteran of the Somme whether his tour of duty resembled the 'Boy's Own' war stories he grew up on. The Modernists broke the clear straight lines of causality and perception and chronological sequence, to make them look more like life as it's actually lived. They took in 'The Mill on the Floss' and spat out 'The Sound and the Fury.'"
I keep a weblog like it's still the 90s. For commentary and dissent please visit jontaylor.ca, or various other purveyors of thought online.
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