chapter
6 Pages

Introduction

WithLinda E. Chown

This chapter focuses on the premise that the novel, as a piece of literature, must be treated as art, and not as reflection of some pre-existing external reality, but as a rendering of the introspective history of people, of their moral, that is, their invisible human concerns. Literature is an autonomous field of study, allowing people unique opportunity to become intimate in the density of the moral reality of others and, by extension, potentially more intimate in their own. The demise of the term moral to denote something other than ethical is a central indicator of the diminished stature of invisible human life. The chapter traces a shift in two pairs of novels, Doris Lessing’s The Summer Before the Dark and The Memoirs of a Survivor on the one hand and on the other Carmen Martin Gaite’s Retahilas and The Back Room.