The God-Seeker, by Sinclair Lewis; Intruder in the Dust, by William Faulkner; The Grand Design, by John Dos Passos
A Quality of programmatic earnestness, pessimistic in Don Passos, cocky in Lewis, rhetorical in Faulkner, distinguishes these novels from most of the earlier work of their authors. Formerly, they were content to build their fictional worlds out of detail and style, and to leave implicit in the tone and structure of the writing whatever larger judgment they wished to make. The denseness of USA or Babbitt or Light in August was the token of the writer’s belief in his creation; and the energy with which he documented and sustained his conviction infected the reader and compelled him to suspend his disbelief in the exaggerated, disbalanced, but truly possessed worlds of those novels. Turning toward greater explicitness, each of these writers has relaxed his concern with internal structures, and these most recent novels suffer, in varying degrees, from undernourishment and overstatement.
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