How to read a novel

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Viking Press, 1957 - Literary Criticism - 247 pages

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User Review  - bohemima -

This should have been titled “How to Write a Novel.” A few writers are considered here, most especially Henry James. But Gordon chose to use extremely long quotes from authors she considers superior ... Read full review


CHAPTER PAGE 1 How Not to Read a Novel
The Novel as an Art Form
Complication and Resolution

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About the author (1957)

Caroline Gordon's controlled use of her craft ,as well as her conservative attitudes, stamped her as a traditionalist among modern writers. Born in Kentucky as the daughter of a classics teacher and graduated from Bethany College in 1916, she married the poet Allen Tate in 1924 and became an associate of the Fugitives and Southern Agrarian groups that helped to make Nashville a vital mecca for southern intellectuals during the 1970s. Her first novel, Penhally (1931), traces the decline brought about by pride and jealousy as well as the devastation of the Civil War. None Shall Look Back (1937), which had the misfortune to appear shortly after Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, is a distinguished but neglected novel with a theme similar to her first. Against the story of the Allard family, which, like the house of Penhally, deteriorates through internal weaknesses, as well as because of the Civil War, Gordon sets off the heroic figure of the Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. The Garden of Adonis (1937) picks up the story of the Allards, this time during the depression of the 1930s, and shows how social conditions, as well as the family's own incapacities, have put the men of the family at the mercy of their spoiled and neurotic women. Aleck Maury, Sportsman (1934), like Gordon's most famous short story "Old Red," is remarkable for its vivid hunting scenes. Probably no other woman has written so knowledgeably and sympathetically about the outdoor man's love of the fields and streams of his native region and the almost sacramental view of nature that accompanies such allegiance.

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