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By Henry Roth

“His early novel Call It Sleep used to be his Ulysses. His past due paintings An American Type is his Grapes of Wrath.”—Thane Rosenbaum, Los Angeles Times
This “glorious, evocative, literary novel for the ages” (Los Angeles Times) has ultimately taken its position in the nice canon of yank fiction. Set through the nice melancholy, opposed to a backdrop of latest York’s glimmering skyscrapers and Los Angeles’s seedy motor courts, this autobiographical paintings concludes the remarkable saga of Henry Roth, whose vintage Call It Sleep, released in 1934, went directly to turn into one in all Time’s a hundred most sensible American novels of the 20 th century. With echoes of Nathanael West and John Steinbeck, An American Type is a heartrending assertion approximately American identification and the common transcendence of affection.

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Extra resources for An American Type: A Novel

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The cuckoo haunts The Nice and the Good, prompting conversations about cuckolding, and a reader paying attention to other Shakespearean hints might be made to think of this as a Shakespearean touch. There are numerous possible analogues: one is the song at the close of Love's Labour's Lost: Iris Murdoch's Contemporary World 49 The cuckoo then, on every tree, Mocks married men; for thus sings he, Cuckoo; Cuckoo, cuckoo; 0, word of fear, Unpleasing to a married ear! That play also includes much mention of the allegorical person of Cupid, who figures in the Bronzino painting, 'An Allegory' (Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time) in the National Gallery, which is admired by characters in the novel (and appears on the original jacket).

73). It is called 'a planted symbol' and Dora's dramatic ringing of the old bell is said to be 'a symbolic action ... substituted for a real one' (p. 75). A. S. Byatt repeats this view in her British Council pamphlet on Iris Murdoch (I976) in the 'Writers and their Work' series which is widely read and has considerable authority. Yet, although the comparison with Victorian fiction seems appropriate, it is far from obvious that the bell acts as a conventional symbol. An article by Stephen Wall in Essays in Criticism in I963, called 'The Bell in The Bell', 5 argues that its meaning is 'shifting and not residual', relative to the viewpoints of characters who see it as a symbol; and shows that it works as a narrative device to reveal- 'on George Eliot's principle'- how character unfolds, and not as a symbol in itself.

Having had one cider too many, Michael has kissed Toby: Toby's thoughts next morning are both inappropriate and convincing in a blend that suggests Anthony Powell; he feels 'as if he had taken part, on the previous night, in some exhausting orgy' (Chapter 12). The 44 The Survival qf the Novel interplay of two distinct tones derives from two eras ofliterature and corresponds to two quite separate cultural styles, to be seen, for example, in Nick's or Dora's attitude to sexual freedom and in the opposed Imber view of Dora as an 'erring wife'.

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