T(homas) S(igismund) Stribling George Stevens - Essay

George Stevens

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Mr. Stribling has set out with the intention of embalming the South in a symbolic trilogy, which ["Unfinished Cathedral"] brings to a close.

"Unfinished Cathedral" makes it evident why the attempt to symbolize the southern scene, indulged in by any writer of less than genius, inevitably results in melodrama. To begin with, any theme of conflict is most forcibly expressed in terms of violence, and southern history gives precedent in abundance for this kind of treatment. In other words, the material is treacherously obvious. Secondly, the symbolic method tends to be—and in the case of Mr. Stribling is—completely conscious and accordingly mechanical. What this author has done, in short, is to take...

(The entire section is 419 words.)