A Psychological Counter-current in Recent Fiction - William Dean Howells - Страница 1 из 27


A PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNTER-CURRENT IN RECENT FICTION.
by
William Dean Howells
It is consoling as often as dismaying to find in what seems a
cataclysmal tide of a certain direction a strong drift to the opposite
quarter. It is so divinable, if not so perceptible, that its presence
may usually be recognized as a beginning of the turn in every tide
which is sure, sooner or later, to come. In reform, it is the menace
of reaction; in reaction, it is the promise of reform; we may take
heart as we must lose heart from it. A few years ago, when a movement
which carried fiction to the highest place in literature was
apparently of such onward and upward sweep that there could be no
return or descent, there was a counter-current in it which stayed it
at last, and pulled it back to that lamentable level where fiction is
now sunk, and the word "novel" is again the synonym of all that is
morally false and mentally despicable. Yet that this, too, is partly
apparent, I think can be shown from some phases of actual fiction
which happen to be its very latest phases, and which are of a
significance as hopeful as it is interesting. Quite as surely as
romanticism lurked at the heart of realism, something that we may call
"psychologism" has been present in the romanticism of the last four or
five years, and has now begun to evolve itself in examples which it is
the pleasure as well as the duty of criticism to deal with.
I.
No one in his day has done more to popularize the romanticism, now


-10     пред. Страница 1 из 27 след.     +10