Wright Morris American Literature Analysis
In his long and productive literary career, Wright Morris’s fictional practice remained consistent with the theoretical concerns he expresses in his essays and interviews. Morris was one of the few to combine the roles of novelist and literary critic, roles which frequently tend to diverge among twentieth century writers. His books on literature—The Territory Ahead; a Bill of Rites, a Bill of Wrongs, a Bill of Goods; About Fiction; and Earthly Delights, Unearthly Adornments (1978)—are perceptive studies that reveal many of his literary origins and aims. His novels, which are in many ways extensions of his theory, testify to Morris’s unwavering belief in technique as an indispensable tool of the successful writer.
Although Morris’s critical comments about fiction tend to be understated and somewhat implicit, they do suggest his profound interest in a number of artistic concerns. Foremost among these concerns are the nature and role of the artist, the writer’s way of handling his material, the writer’s relationship to literary tradition, the value of realism as a literary approach, and the importance of technique.
The best working definition Morris provides of the artist’s role is found in this statement from The Territory Ahead:Life, raw life, the kind we lead every day . . ., has the curious property of not seeming real enough. We have a need, however illusive, for a life that is more real...
(The entire section is 5879 words.)
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