Esther Forbes Walter D. Edmonds - Essay

Walter D. Edmonds

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Once in a great while] a book appears that so fuses history and the life of its protagonists that it makes a class of its own. In recent years I think of James Boyd's "Long Hunt" in this class, and now there is another one: Esther Forbes's new book, "The General's Lady."

To my way of thinking books like these express the essence of what historical writing should be. It is easy enough to snatch episodes out of history and string them on a heroic line, but it is hard for the reader to forget that he is reading history. That is what every reader should forget. His imagination should not be allowed to dwell in the past while he reads; the book should have its own inner present and future. Every one must...

(The entire section is 506 words.)