A Psychological Counter-Current in Recent Fiction

A Psychological Counter-Current in Recent Fiction

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A Psychological Counter-Current in Recent Fiction by William Dean Howells

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A Psychological Counter-Current in Recent Fiction

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spirit might have, if it could be made known to us in the circumstances of another world. He has, indeed, made almost as clean a break with his past as if he had really been drowned in the river. When, after the term of oblivion, in which he knows nothing of his past self, he is restored to his identity by a famous surgeon too opportunely out of Paris, on a visit to his brother, the cure, the problem is how he shall expiate the errors of his past, work out his redemption in his new life; and the author solves it for him by appointing him to a life of unselfish labor, illumined by actions of positive beneficence. It is something like the solution which Goethe imagines for Faust, and perhaps no other is imaginable. In contriving it, Mr. Parker indulges the weaker brethren with an abundance of accident and a luxury of catastrophe, which the reader interested in the psychology of the story may take as little account of as he likes. Without so much of them he might have made a sculpturesque romance as clearly and

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