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“Probably a majority of the best English, French, Russian, German, and American novels fall into one of several nonegalitarian classes: novels preoccupied with private themes (as they now strike us) often archaically conceived, such as adultery and manliness (for example, Lawrence, Hemingway, Ford Madox Ford, and Joyce); adventure novels (a class that overlaps the first); novels that despite surface appearances are disengaged from any serious interest in the social or political arrangements of society (which I believe, though cannot take the time here to argue, is true even of Kafka and Camus); novels that disparage the modern project of liberty and equality (for example, Dumas, Scott, Dostoevsky, Waugh, at times Conrad); novels that presuppose an organization of society in which a leisured, titled, or educated upper crust lives off the sweat of the brow of a mass of toilers at whose existence the novelist barely hints (for example, Austen, James, Wharton, Proust, Fitzgerald); novels preoccupied with issues more metaphysical than social (Beckett, Hesse, and much of Melville, Tolstoy, and Mann); novels that defend bourgeois values (Defoe, Galsworthy, Trollope); novels that deal with public themes yet whose ‘take’ on those themes is equivocal or inscrutable (Twain and Faulkner); novels that deal with both social and private themes, yet in which the latter predominate (Stendhal, Flaubert, Bulgakov).” – Richard A. Posner, “Against Ethical Criticism”

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