American Women Short Story Writers A Collection Of Critical Essays

American Women Short Story Writers A Collection Of Critical Essays-3
Eble systematically examines the novels and the stories against the backdrop of Fitzgerald biography, finally drawing conclusions about the relative strengths of the works, particularly the novels, by new-critical standards.

Eble systematically examines the novels and the stories against the backdrop of Fitzgerald biography, finally drawing conclusions about the relative strengths of the works, particularly the novels, by new-critical standards.

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Miller establishes a context for his theories about Fitzgerald's artistic development by first clarifying his definition of the term "technique." Rejecting narrow definitions of the term as concerned simply with point of view, Miller settles on Mark Shorer's comprehensive definition: "Everything is technique which is not the lump of experience itself, and one cannot properly say that a writer has no technique or that he eschews technique, for, being a writer, he cannot do so." Miller, therefore, examines Fitzgerald's technique in broad terms of "the development of theme, point of view, and the manner of representing events." At the core of Miller's thesis is a belief that Fitzgerald's development as a writer can be followed in relation to his belief in the novel of saturation or the novel of selected incident; in effect, in terms of Fitzgerald's shifting position in the H. Wells-Henry James debate, which squarely confronts the positive and negative aspects of these theoretically different kinds of novels.

Miller convincingly argues that Fitzgerald moved steadily away from the novel of saturation, of which This Side of Paradise is a good example, toward the Jamesian and Conradian novel of selected incident.

Some will argue that Miller's choice for analysis of the Malcolm Cowley, "author's-final-intention" edition of Tender Is the Night, which reestablishes the novel's chronological sequence of events, is unfortunate in that this edition works against Miller's thesis.

But the issue of which Tender Is the Night is "best" has become one for critical examination in itself, and with or without his chapters on Tender Is the Nigh and The Last Tycoon, Miller's study is seminal, situating Fitzgerald as it does in the mainstream of the development of literary theory and practice.

But what Eble manages to do with this observation is to demonstrate which kinds of life experiences and which kinds of narrative points of view seem to work best for Fitzgerald.

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Eble shows, for example, how much stronger dramatic episodes in the Basil stories are artistically than those based on similar episodes drawn from life in Fitzgerald's first novel, This Side of Paradise, a point which leads to the conclusion that Fitzgerald does better with experiences that have had time to cool.

But he was also from the beginning of his career a serious literary artist who worked diligently to reconcile in his own life the central dilemma of professional authorship in America: how to create works of high literary merit while earning a living from his own writing.

Eliot, the latter of whom called The Great Gatsby "the first step that American fiction has taken since Henry James." As the poet laureate of the Jazz Age, the creator of the flapper in fiction, as author of more than one hundred fifty stories in slick magazines like the Saturday Evening Post and, with his wife Zelda, a visible public figure pictured on the cover of popular magazines and the top of taxicabs on Fifth Avenue in New York during the 1920's, Fitzgerald became an easy target for superficial evaluations of his work during his lifetime.

Ebel also, in his final appraisal of Fitzgerald's work, clearly articulates the reasons why Fitzgerald's reputation has remained high, positioning him with other such great American writers as Melville, Hawthorne, and James: "The first is the hard core of morality....

Second, unlike a majority of modern American writers, he offers a fiction which is hard to imitate but from which much can be learned." Here again, scores of articles and several volumes (among them Allen's Candles and Carnival Lights discussed below) have pursued the point of Fitzgerald's "hard core of morality" as well as the qualities of his style which make it "hard to imitate." And finally, Eble pushes the limits of what had been considered work worthy of consideration by literary critics into the realm of lesser known and previously uncollected stories, a foreshadowing of the direction of much current Fitzgerald scholarship which is expanding the canon toward "the neglected works" (e.g., Bryer's upcoming volume, The Neglected Stories of F.


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