This Faustian tale of the spiritual disintegration of a young minister, written in the 1890s, deals subtly and powerfully with the impact of science on innocence and the collective despair that marked the transition into the modern age. In its realism, The Damnation of Theron Ware foreshadows Howells; in its conscious imagery it prefigures Norris, Crane, Henry James, and the "symbolic realism" of the twentieth century. Its author, Harold Frederic, internationally famous as London correspondent for the New York Times, wrote the novel two years before his death.
The Damnation of Theron Ware seems likely to survive...The combination of delicate mannerliness and merciless savagery with which Frederic sets about abasing Theron is not easy to describe; but, if one could make the admittedly prodigious effort of imagining an Emma written from the point of view of Mr. Elton by an ebullient exile from Utica, New York (and ending with the full power of an Irish-American Emma's scorn turned upon the luckless person), some idea of its shocking comprehensivity might be grasped.
Containing the realism of Howells, the moral complexity of James, and the comic manner of Mark Twain, the novel--a finer book, incidentally, than Lewis's Elmer Gantry--warrants reading.
Of great interest both as a novel and as a double-barrelled social document.
- 384 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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