Hello friends— I finished Leslie Fiedler’s Love and Death in the American Novel. I think it’s got to be experienced to be understood, but the general idea is that it’s a study of the American novel. Specifically, it is a study of why the American novel as a form struggles to depict in ways both realistic and sufficiently complicated the relationships between men and women. One of Fiedler’s more provocative ideas is that the driving force of the American novel is violence but also a homoerotic tension between white men and colored men (who, in Fiedler’s construction, represent a weird Freudian projection of white men’s baser desires). I know it sounds chaotic and bad. But it’s actually a brilliant and incisive read of the American novel. It just
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