The Writer's Way in France
This book is an attempt to present a new, integral approach to French literature. Acknowledging his debts to numerous post-Hegelian philosophers or psychologists and modern critics, Professor Cohn offers a lucid and swift-paced account of an original view of literature which bears particular kinship to the artistic visions of Joyce, Mallarme, and Proust.
In Part I the creative temperament is defined in terms of a subtly recognizable rhythm of human nature which appears in varying forms or "syncopations." In Part II the evolution of the rhythm is followed through changing themes, images, styles, and genres from the earliest known native origins to the crowning work of the Symbolists.
Parts I and II together constitute a method, the purpose of which is to maintain, as tactfully as possible, a sense of direction as we move through the complexities of lively art. The method is brought to bear on extensive texts in Part III, with closely detailed studies of Rimbaud and Proust. These individual studies are offered' as examples; more are promised in subsequent volumes.
In addition, the present state of criticism is discussed in an Introduction; lengthy appendices are devoted to some important modes of lyric poetry and the author's "precritical," or epistemological, concepts; and a briefer appendix takes up the idea of Progress in Art. The Writer's Way in France is a work of unusual perception, of great importance to all students of literature who are interested in fresh ideas and methods.
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