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The Green Child (Classic Reprint)
There has been an even greater decline in quality. Since Ulysses, if you accept Ulysses as a great novel, there have been very few really great novels in English. Lady Chatterly, The Rainbow and Women in Love; Ford Madox Ford s Tietjens series, really one novel; some of Sherwood A nderson; the unfinished promise of William Carlos Williams First A ct; a...
There has been an even greater decline in quality. Since Ulysses, if you accept Ulysses as a great novel, there have been very few really great novels in English. Lady Chatterly, The Rainbow and Women in Love; Ford Madox Ford s Tietjens series, really one novel; some of Sherwood A nderson; the unfinished promise of William Carlos Williams First A ct; a few others. The Green Child is fully the equal of any of these, although it is of a rather more special kind. Graham Greene speaks of it as surcharged with a sense of glory gloire that special lustre and effulgence which A quinas marks out as the sign manifest of great works of art. Certainly The Green Child has it an unearthly, hypnotic radiance. Partly this is clue to style as well as to the temper and depth of the mind and sensibility. (O ris this a definition of style?) A nyway, it is hard to believe your eyes as you read. The sheer perfection of the writing is very rare in English since the loosening of standards in Nineteenth Century fiction. Landor wrote this way, and Bagehot, and Mill, and Clerk Maxwell, and various explorers and scientists, but the novelists mostly have forgotten how. Read has, in addition, something that Pilgrim s Progress has, or Walton s Compleat A ngler, or Gilbert White s Natural History of Selbourne, or, on a different plane, Robinson Crusoe. These books are in some sense allegories, archetypes. They have, scaled down, what you find in Homer, Le Morte DA rthur, Rabelais mythopoeia. And they have something else, something that maybe is essential to myth, and which you have to have if you are going to capture the mythic quality of the past, and which, for all their chatter about Le Mythe et Le Verbe, the muggy surrealists never had clarite. I have never gone with Walton along flowery banks by calm rivers after the gallant trout without feeling as though I were walking into Blake s(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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