Magazine December 17, 2020, Issue

Our Literary Drought

(Roman Genn)
Novelists, poets, and critics seek a higher truth, but today’s pickings are slim

In 1955, the year of the founding of National Review, literature in its main branches — poetry, fiction, criticism — was flourishing. In American poetry, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, and E. E. Cummings were still at work. In fiction, so, too, were Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Richard Wright. In France, Albert Camus and André Malraux remained productive. In England, Evelyn Waugh and Elizabeth Bowen and Barbara Pym were writing, and the year before, Kingsley Amis had won the Somerset Maugham Award for Lucky Jim. Internationally, Jorge Luis Borges and Vladimir Nabokov had not yet quite

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This article appears as “Literature, Then and Now” in the December 17, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Joseph Epstein — Mr. Epstein is the author, most recently, of Gallimaufry, a Collection of Essays, Reviews, Bits.

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