By Edmund Wilson
From the recent Yorker, the kingdom, New Republic and different periodicals, this collects among covers a few sixty seven serious articles. one of the "Commercials", Douglas' The Bromfield's What grew to become of Anna and Anya Seton's The Turquoise are scored; and within the similar vein are 3 articles attacking the present secret box which has no applicants to rival the classics- Poe and Doyle. The "Classics" contain reappraisals of Jane Austen, Thackeray, Edith Wharton, Tolstoy, speedy, etc., and so forth. and one of the moderns there are James Joyce, Evelyn Waugh, Sartre, Beerbohn, Faulkner, Dali- the superficial "California school" (Steinbeck, Cain and Saroyan) and the pleasant contemporary rediscovery- Ronald Firbank. The remoted, olympian superiority, the tendency to judge via criteria that are now and then irrelevant (this is for instance real in his angle towards detective fiction), has once in a while irritated a -shall we are saying- easier examining public. yet there isn't any query that, inside his boundaries, that are hugely highbrow in flavor and expectancies, Wilson is an engaging if difficult critic.
This publication includes a number of my literary articles written throughout the nineteen-forties. them all were revised and a few of them significantly rewritten. a couple of were stated up to now with postscripts. apart from the memoir of Rosenfeld and a few of the notes on Connolly and Waugh, they're awarded in chronological order. The dates normally are these in their first visual appeal in print; yet to T. okay. Whvpyle, ideas on Being Blbliographed and Paul Rosenfeld: 3 stages i've got assigned the dates once they have been written. From the thing on Harold Nicolson during the article on Ronald Firbank, every little thing initially seemed within the New Yorker. Archibald MacLeish and the be aware, Van Wyck Brooks' s moment part and Max East guy in 1941 have been first published within the New Republic.
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Extra info for Classics and Commercials: A Literary Chronicle of the Forties
Serenade, in 1937. They were fol- lowed by other similar novels which apparently derived from Mr. Cain. The whole group stemmed originally from Hemingway, but it was Hemingway turned pica19 — 20 CLASSICS resque; and it had its AND COMMERCIALS connections also with the new school Hammett. Mr. Cain remained the best of these novelists. Horace McCoy, the author of They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and I Should Have Stayed Home, had a subject with possibilities: the miserable situation of movie-struck young men and women who starve and degrade themselves in Hollywood; and the first of his books is worth reading for of mystery writers of the type of Dashiell its description of one of those dance marathons that among were the more grisly symptoms of the early years of the depression.
These writers are all of fairly recent arrival; they have most of them been influenced by Hemingway; they all live or have lived in California, and they Rising from a long submergence in the have State. all, politics to a greater or lesser extent, written They about that thus constitute a sort of group, and they suggest certain generalizations. Let us begin with Mr. Cain and his school. man Always Rings Twice came The Post- out in 1934; and Mr. Cain's second novel. Serenade, in 1937. They were fol- lowed by other similar novels which apparently derived from Mr.
It's getting that doesn't click in California. In California you can't sit and meditate on through the sunset' " The young man applies himself to learning Chinese. Add San Franwith its cosmopolitanism and its Bohemian clubs, the city of Bret Harte and Ambrose Bierce, was arrested in its natural development by the earthquake of 1906, to this that the real cultural center, cisco, and that thereafter the great anti-cultural amusementproducing center, Los Angeles, grew up, gigantic and vulgar, like and tended one of those synthetic California to drain the State.
Classics and Commercials: A Literary Chronicle of the Forties by Edmund Wilson