Professional Study: The Modernist Novel

Autor: prof. Andrei Elena
Colegiul Economic Buzău

The turn-of-the-century writers, whose works record the passage from the realist to the psychologically-oriented novel, agree that, if there should be a change in point of novel writing, this change should reside in a shift of focus from the description of the outer world to the representation of the inner world. This shift of interest is accompanied by an increased concern with the mechanisms of the art of writing.
What gives the extent of a writer’s value is the power of seeing. The novelist is a keen observer endowed with imagination. To reach the status of the artist, the novelist should be in perfect control of the medium, of language and of form. Henry James theoretically expresses and practically proves by his novels that the novel represents a structure. Character, incident, narrator, point of view, plot are relevant only to the extent to which they contribute to the interpretation of the novel as a whole. As a critic, he sees fiction as art only in the unity of form and content.
The inseparability of form and content prevents the reader from judging the work of art by any other standards than the artistic ones. The rest of values (ideological, ethical, political or economic) present in the work, likely to produce various reactions on the part of the reader, of acceptance or rejection, should be subordinated to the artistic value. Conrad insists that art should be judged only by aesthetic standards. Continuarea