Herman Wouk: The Novelist as Social Historian

1st Edition

Arnold Beichman

Routledge
Published August 31, 2004
Reference - 152 Pages
ISBN 9780765808363 - CAT# Y348621

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Summary

Arnold Beichman's comprehensive study of the writings of Herman Wouk, one of America's leading writers, shows how Wouk's plays and novels exemplify an extraordinary and often highly perceptive preoccupation with American society in war and in peace. Situating Wouk in the same literary tradition as Cervantes, Richardson, Balzac, and Dickens, Beichman demonstrates that Wouk's novels have strong plots, moralist outcomes, and active--essentially positive--characters. The new introduction serves to bring Wouk's work over the past two decades into the reckoning.

Making extensive use of Wouk's personal papers and manuscripts as well as personal interviews with him, Beichman's focus is on the social and literary qualities of Wouk's work. In particular, he examines eight novels including War and Remembrance and The Winds of War; The Traitor, one of his three plays; and two moral tracts on Judaism. Wouk has written four more novels, including his latest, A Hole in Texas, his twelfth.

Beichman portrays Wouk as one of the few living novelists concerned with virtue, and sees his work as against the mainstream of contemporary American novelists. These, he argues, have eschewed such elements of the traditional novel as invention, coincidences, surprises, suspense, and a moral perspective more presumed than examined.

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