William (Christopher) Barrett Pearl Bell - Essay

Pearl Bell

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[One] cannot help suspecting that The Truants was originally conceived on a more modest scale—a memoir in the form of portraits—than what it finally became: a tantalizingly suggestive, but thinly realized attempt to draw, from the exhaustion of Marxism and modernism as they played themselves out in the story of Partisan Review, a far-reaching polemical lesson about the imperative need for a new moral and religious consciousness in our time. The issues he raises are indisputably important, but in this anecdotal context of recollection Barrett fails to do them justice.

There remains a nagging question: what can these memories of the Partisan Review intellectuals mean to those...

(The entire section is 847 words.)