Bernard Malamud American Literature Analysis
Malamud first came to prominence during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, a period when trends in fiction centered on the “new novel.” In part, Malamud’s writings can be seen as a reaction to this school, which devalued form, presented weak, atypical characters, offered a negative view about the future of humankind, and often provided an amoral view of the world. Taking an opposite stance, Malamud was absolutely adamant about the role of fiction: “The purpose of the writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself. But without preachment. Artists cannot be ministers. As soon as they attempt it, they destroy their artistry.”
Indeed, Malamud’s literary roots extend deeply into the nineteenth century narrative method. He is foremost a storyteller. “I feel that story is the basic element of fiction,” he claimed, “though that idea is not popular with disciples of the ’new novel.’” He admitted to being influenced by the great European realists such as Gustave Flaubert, Thomas Hardy, Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, and Stendhal as well as modern Americans such as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. Malamud tells a story in the traditional manner. He was a great believer in form, which he called an “absolute necessity . . . the basis of literature.” At the heart of every story stands character. In fact, Malamud is devoted to the development of the individual:The sell-out of personality is just tremendous. Our most important...
(The entire section is 5550 words.)
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