Norman Douglas Criticism - Essay

Elizabeth D. Wheatley (essay date 1932)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Norman Douglas," in The Sewanee Review, Vol. XL, No. 1, January, 1932, pp. 55-67.

[In the following essay, Wheatley surveys such major works by Douglas as South Wind, Experiments, and Goodbye to Western Culture, commenting favorably on his main themes and style and comparing his main themes and style and comparing his writings to those of other authors, both contemporary and classical.]

Here in America and perhaps in general elsewhere, Norman Douglas has suffered from neglect. Except for the attention paid to South Wind and the rather craven acceptance of Goodbye to Western Culture, he has not been properly introduced...

(The entire section is 4999 words.)

H. T. Webster (essay date 1950)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Norman Douglas: A Reconsideration," in South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 2, April, 1950, pp. 226-36.

[In the following essay, Webster examines Douglas's reputation and the reception of his works by critics and the general reading public. He concludes that the autobiographical nature of Douglas's work accounts for its abiding energy and vibrancy.]

In the burgeoning of the 1920's, when every publisher's list seemed to make literary history, few writers enjoyed a greater succès d'estime than Norman Douglas. Everybody who thought of himself as belonging to the cognoscenti, the intelligentsia, the sophisticates, or even the intelligent minority,...

(The entire section is 4442 words.)

R. W. Flint (essay date 1952)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Norman Douglas," in The Kenyon Review, Vol. XIV, No. 4, Autumn, 1952, pp. 660-68.

[In the following essay, Flint surveys Douglas's career, praising his travel writings but concluding: "his literary reputation must remain a small one."]

So, while her arm rested lightly on mine, we wandered about those gardens, the saintly lady and myself; her mind dwelling, maybe, on memories of her one classic love-adventure and the part she came nigh to playing in the history of Europe, while mine was lost in a maze of vulgar love-adventures which came nigh to making me play a part in the police courts of Rome.

from Alone,...

(The entire section is 3168 words.)

Graham Greene (essay date 1952)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Norman Douglas," in Collected Essays, The Bodley Head, 1969, pp. 362-65.

[Greene was one of the most popular and respected authors of the twentieth century. A prolific novelist, dramatist, critic, and essayist, he is perhaps best known for the novels Brighton Rock (1938), The Power and the Glory (1940), and The Third Man (1950). In the following essay, originally published in 1952, he fondly recalls Douglas's life and discusses what South Wind meant to his generation of writers.]

In those last years you would always find him between six and dinner-time in the Café Vittoria, unfashionably tucked away behind the Piazza....

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Cyril Connolly (essay date 1963)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Norman Douglas," in Previous Convictions, Hamish Hamilton, 1963, pp. 224-26.

[Connolly was a very influential English critic, nonfiction writer, and literary journal editor. In the following positive review of Old Calabria, he praises Douglas's talents as a travel writer.]

This would seem to be the first edition of Old Calabria for twenty-five years. It belongs to the great tradition of English travel books: it is more solid than all the author's other work, and may well be that for which he is longest remembered.

It is introduced by Mr. John Davenport, who has some robust and original comments to make on the author. I...

(The entire section is 904 words.)

Ralph D. Lindeman (essay date 1965)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Novels," in Norman Douglas, Twayne Publishers, 1965, pp. 121-58.

[In the following excerpt, Lindeman examines Douglas's novels, discussing their plots and main themes, and relating some of the critical commentary they generated.]

Douglas' three novels—South Wind, They Went, and In the Beginning—are usually considered satirical. Satire is difficult of definition. Its tone is one of disapprobation; its tools are irony, wit, humor, and exaggeration. And it is theoretically didactic, since its implied purpose is the renovation of society. Douglas' novels are witty and humorous, employing the kind of exaggerated characterization...

(The entire section is 15762 words.)

Keath Fraser (essay date 1976)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Norman Douglas and D. H. Lawrence: A Sideshow in Modern Memoirs," in The D. H. Lawrence Review, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer, 1976, pp. 283-95.

[In the following essay, Fraser examines the dispute between Douglas and Lawrence over the memoirs of Maurice Magnus, Memoirs of the Foreign Legion (1924), which Douglas wrote about in D. H. Lawrence and Maurice Magnus: A Plea for Better Manners.]

The cause of the breach between the two novelists whom E. M. Forster called [in Aspects of the Novel, 1962] "a doughty pair of combatants, the hardness of whose hitting makes the rest of us feel like a lot of ladies up in a pavilion," is summed up in two words:...

(The entire section is 4084 words.)

Paul Fussell (essay date 1980)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Norman Douglas's Temporary Attachments," in Abroad: British Literary Traveling Between the Wars, Oxford University Press, 1980, pp. 119-30.

[Fussell is an outspoken American nonfiction writer, essayist, and critic whose best-known worksincluding The Great War and Modern Memory (1975), Class: A Guide through the American Class System (1983), and BAD: or, the Dumbing of America (1991)—are noted for their scrupulous scholarship, accomplished prose style, and often polemical tone. In the following excerpt, he examines Douglas's travel writings in light of his pederastic relationships with young boys.]

The titles of the two...

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George Woodcock (essay date 1982)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Norman Douglas: the Willing Exile," in Ariel, Vol. 13, No. 4, October, 1982, pp. 87-101.

[Woodcock was a highly respected and influential Canadian literary critic. In the following essay, he discusses the theme of exile in Douglas's works and in his life-]

To talk of exile writers is to cover an extraordinary range of experience, for even when one has excluded those who have observed poignantly on their wanderings but have returned to their spiritual and physical homes to record those observations, like André Gide and Graham Greene and the classic nineteenth-century scientific wanderers, there remains the fundamental division between those one can call...

(The entire section is 5629 words.)