Commentary Magazine

Article Preview

Some Recent Novels

- Abstract

The constant struggle in so-called creative writing is between fiction and “literature,” or imagination and conformity. “Literature”—or The Same As Before—nearly always wins, unfortunately, and then, putting that book down, we all lean back in disappointment and boredom and wonder when the real thing will come along. I may be a pessimist, but I have begun to suspect that “literature” has just about won the battle for keeps. For what started out, centuries ago, as a means of extending the reader’s (or listener’s) vision and experience, and heightening his total sense of awareness, has become, except in the rarest cases, dead repetition, “art,” or out-and-out journalism.

About the Author