The Novels of Rex Warner: An Introduction by N H Reeve

By N H Reeve

This serious advent to Warner's writings goals to rehabilitate them from overlook by means of discussing the improvement of his rules and their complicated courting with the fictitious kinds wherein he articulated them - a dating which deepens his ostensibly user-friendly narratives, and which increases questions of continuous literary curiosity.

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When we read Rudolph's diary, Koresipoulos reciting his Ode to Speed, or the rugby team's lament for its murdered captain, we sense that parody is holding at arm's length certain feelings which are closely connected to those the novel wishes to promote, but for which no language other than parody is readily available. Similarly convenient is George's rejection of Marqueta at 44 The Novels of Rex Warner the end of the story. What begins as a conflict between feeling and moral approval is simplified by Joan's timely return; her less demanding sexuality dispels Marqueta' s seductive visual appeal and makes George's decision too easy.

36. Georg Simmel, 'On the Concept and Tragedy of Culture', in The Conflict in Modern Culture and Other Essays, trans. Etzkorn, Teachers College Press, Columbia University, New York 1968, p. 44. 3 The Professor When at the age of 17 I read The Professor for the first time I was impressed most forcibly by its seriousness. Here was a work of fiction dealing strong-mindedly and with no superfluous embellishment with matters of the first importance. This quality of seriousness did not derive simply from the contents or the occasion of the novel - the takeover by fascist forces of a minor European democracy.

That's where you will find George' (p. 35). This closing of the frame around the story maintains a classic allegorical structure, in which the hero is ultimately absorbed or transfigured into an image of the faith which is to be perpetuated by subsequent travellers. Once George has passed beyond the influence of his home town, and abandoned his bicycle, he begins a lengthy series of encounters with exemplary characters of the allegorical world. Amid the various stylistic excursions in the writing one mode emerges which will become increasingly dominant in Warner's later books, the life-story or set speech of self-justification.

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