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Irving Howe’s classic investigation of the role of revolutionary ideas in fiction is here reprinted in a new paperback edition. In establishing the role of the political novel and tracing its growth into the twentieth century, Mr. Howe draws his examples from Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, Dostoevsky’s The Possessed, Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, and Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons. He also explains why American novels failed to integrate ideology, including Henry Adams’s Democracy, Henry James’s The Bostonians, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance. His discussion of political fiction after World War II touches on Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, V. S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle, among others. In all, Politics and the Novel offers the most enduring and authoritative view of the subject.
An intelligent, penetrating, lucid, graceful persuasive and altogether splendid book.
Part 1 Introduction 1 Part 2 Preface 11 Part 3 Part I 13 Chapter 4 The Idea of the Political Novel 15 Chapter 5 Stendhal: The Politics of Survival 25 Chapter 6 Dostoevsky: The Politics of Salvation 51 Chapter 7 Conrad: Order and Anarchy 76 Chapter 8 Turgenev: The Politics of Hesitation 114 Chapter 9 Henry James: The Political Vocation 139 Part 10 Part II 157 Chapter 11 Some American Novelists: The Politics of Isolation 159 Part 12 Part III 201 Chapter 13 Malraux, Silone, Koestler: The Twentieth Century 203 Chapter 14 Orwell: History as Nightmare 235 Part 15 Epilogue: Politics and the Novel After Politics and the Novel 252