247. (Stendhal)

  Stendhal is exhausting and bracing because his energy is relentless and directed relentlessly to one end: the refusal of “style.” It is sometimes said that was painfully aware that he was incapable of style; I think it likely he realized it to be an achievement. To say Stendhal has no style might seem to echo Arnold’s remark about Wordsworth. It is vastly different in … Continue reading 247. (Stendhal)

74. (Émile Zola)

In the spirit of a reading journal, here’s the first of a two-part attempt to say something coherent about Zola’s masterpiece Germinal, which I’ve just finished reading in translation. For some initial orientation, here is Erich Auerbach, esteeming the novel: Zola took the mixing of styles really seriously; he pushed on beyond the purely aesthetic realm of the preceding generation; he is one of the very … Continue reading 74. (Émile Zola)