Frank Kermode

  • The Paper Men by William Golding
    Faber, 191 pp, £7.95, February 1984, ISBN 0 571 13206 5
  • William Golding: A Critical Study by Mark Kinkead-Weekes and Ian Gregor
    Faber, 291 pp, £3.50, February 1984, ISBN 0 571 13259 6

Even in the days of what is now called ‘classical realism’ it was understood that plot, as a human contrivance meant to suggest intelligible causal relations between history-like events, could sometimes seem to be shadowed by other and larger plots, of uncertain and superhuman provenance. The relation between the two sorts of plot will vary – it is not the same in George Eliot and Hardy, but in both there is such a relation. Later, when to be modern meant to be inquisitive about technical refinement, one might have the story told by somebody unaware of its larger plot, which is what Ford Madox Ford arranged.

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