Wayne C(layson) Booth ALAN D. McKILLOP - Essay


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The Rhetoric of Fiction] makes good the claim on the dust jacket that it offers "the most significant analysis of the novelist's art" since Percy Lubbock's Craft of Fiction. But it differs from that classic study, indeed from much of the criticism of fiction which it ably surveys, in that it is written with no overspecific commitment. Whereas since Lubbock there has been a tendency to be more Jamesian than James, the present study shows a catholic taste and a practical empiricism. It is refreshingly free from arrogance and special pleading, and it avoids the cryptic and the dogmatic. Yet it does not undertake a survey of the many mansions of fiction, or offer a formal classification by kinds, or proceed...

(The entire section is 728 words.)