The claim of [The Awakening] upon the reader's attention is simple. It is a first-rate novel. The justification for urging its importance is that we have few enough novels of its stature. One could add that it is advanced in theme and technique over the novels of its day, that it anticipates in many respects the modern novel. It could be claimed that it adds to American fiction an example of what Gide called the roman pur, a kind of novel not characteristic of American writing. One could offer the book as evidence that the regional writer can go beyond the limitations of...
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