In our time, in these early years of the twentieth century, the novel is the prosperous parvenu of literature, and only a few of those who acknowledge its vogue and who laud its success take the trouble to recall its humble beginnings and the miseries of its youth. But like other parvenus it is still a little uncertain of its position in the society in which it moves. It is a newcomer in the literary world; and it has the self-assertiveness and the touchiness natural to the situation.
. In the earliest fictions, whether in prose or verse, the hero had been merely a type, little more than a lay-figure capable of violent attitudes, a doer of deeds who, as Professor Gummere has explained, "answered the desire for poetic expression at a time when an individual is merged in the clan." And as the realistic writers perfected their art, the more acute readers began to perceive that the hero who is a doer of deeds can represent only the earlier stages of culture which we have long outgrown. This hero came to be recognized as an anachronism, out of place in a more modern social organization based on a full appreciation of individuality. He was too much a type and too little an individual to satisfy the demands of those who looked to literature as the mirror of life itself and who had taught themselves to relish what Lowell terms the "punctilious veracity which gives to a portrait its whole worth."
Thus it was only in the middle years of the nineteenth century, after Stendhal, Balzac, and Flau