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United States: Essays 1952-1992 - "Meredith" (1970) Summary & Analysis

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Publication of critic V.S. Pritchett's lectures on the British novelist George Meredith provides Vidal a springboard for his own assessment ("a rare combination of will and genius") and an opportunity to remark on the demise of the novel in English. Vidal notes that Henry James referred to Meredith's "charming accueil, his impenetrable shining scales, and the (to me) general mystery of his perversity."

Vidal calls the technique of Meredith's novel "theatrical," in which carefully staged conflicts create the challenges that confront the hero and which he must endure to experience "that clarification and sad wisdom which can only be achieved when all pride and self-delusion are burnt away." Vidal celebrates Meredith's "energy, wit, comedic invention [which] are not only satisfying but like no one else's."

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This section contains 174 words
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