A Modern Writer’s France



I am afraid I must disgrace the pages of a scholarly publication such as this. The notion of the novelist as intellectual and bookman, as universally well read and well informed about which is going on in the contemporary literary world, has been gaining substance all through this century, at least in academy, if some of the letters I receive are any guide. They assume knowledges in me of the modern novel, of literary theory, all of that, that I lack either totally or as nearly so as makes no difference. All novelists, at least when writing novels, are really to be classed in terms of Lévi-Strauss’s pensée sauvage; we are not cultivated people. As the great anthropologist pointed out, that does not mean we primitives are not also in pursuit, like scientists and other sternly sane people, of a mise en ordre, a fitting of life into a chest of drawers. But the methods and principles of our fitting, and indeed of our chests of drawers themselves, are often remote from reason, tradition, the protocols of scientific analysis and all that venerable galère (in the university context) of desirable qualities.


Century Salon Scholarly Publication Grammatical Theory Modern Writer French Writer 
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© Ceri Crossley and Ian Small 1988

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