The Eastern vs. the Western in The Confidence Man

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Czon, SeungGul
Issue Date
서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
영학논집 1(1976): 143-150
form and fablenondramatizablesuperstructure of belief
Although the critics of Melville have been divided in their opmion
upon the merits of The Confidence Man, it seems that on one point
there is agreement: that the novel is' not a great success as a work of
fiction. The greatest failure is to be found in the form of the novel,
which is, in other words, his method of uniting ideas with action and
character. We are almost bound to agree with Daniel G. Hoffman who
says in his Form and Fable in American Fiction, "Melville had led
himself into a maze of nondramatizable speculation to which none of
the traditions he could make use of were fitted to give adequate form .
...He attempts allegory without a superstructure of belief, and dialectic
without the possibility of resolution." Ivor Winters thinks the novel,
with all its importance and impressiveness, "unsatisfactory as philosophy
and tediously repetitious as narrative," and some critics go so far as to
say that the novel remains unfinished. In spite of its failure in the form
as a work of fiction, however, the book is a great success in its powerful
satire and sharp criticism upon the human nature and society.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)영학논집(English Studies)영학논집(English Studies) No.01 (1976)
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