Democracy Criticism

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A tendency for critics of Didion's fiction to draw upon knowledge of her public and private character was taken to the limit in 1980 by Barbara Grizutti Harrison. In a witheringly unsympathetic essay included in her 1980 book Off Center, Harrison accused the author of being self-consciously neurotic, a reactionary, and a stylistic trickster. Reviewers of Democracy were not disposed to receiving Didion's intrusions of herself into the narrative with much sympathy. Many of them were convinced that these intrusions weakened the novel. But a number of early reviewers were more positive about Didion's style than Harrison. Phoebe-Lou Adams, reviewing the novel in the Atlantic, described it as being "striking, provocative, and brilliantly written." Janet Wieth, despite thinking that the book had the "immediacy of journalism" rather than the emotional depth of a great novel, nevertheless summarized it in Library Journal as "sophisticated political fiction, written with skill...

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This section contains 662 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Democracy Study Guide
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