Forbidden TalesnMartin Green: Dreams of Adventure,nDeeds of Empire; Basic Books;nNew York.nby Gordon M. PradlnUnder the covers night after nightnmy flashlight made voyages to distantnlands possible. Expectantly, my fingersnrushed to turn the page as the first matenstruggled to ward off a marauding bandnof savages. Cornered, he managed tonwrestle free a spear, but then fatiguenovertook me and thoughts of the adventurenslowly melded into my innerndreams of consciousness.nStories pretend to be about the past;nin reality they are about the future.nIn revealing the themes and conflictsnof earlier experiences, stories preparenus for events that are yet to come. Withoutnsome system of expectations we arenhelpless in facing new circumstances.nWithout an identity we are at the mercynof others. Stories, through their mythmakingncapacity, give us both a systemnof expectations and an identity. In ournimaginative transactions with stories,nwe turn action into experience, and thusnwe learn who we are in order that wencan choose who we will become.nIt is the peculiar power of narrativento project us forward into new possibilities.nYet, as in other areas of ournlives, authorities would tell us whichnstories to believe and which to discard.nFor to gain control of a culture’s storiesnis to gain control over the very life ofnthat culture.nSimilarly, to understand what is reallynhappening in the hearts and minds ofna particular people we must penetratento the core of their everyday stories, tonthose stories that have left the deepestnimpression on the ways in which thatnpeople have come to view the world.nWe must not simply accept the storiesnDr. Pradl is professor of English Educationnat New York University.n*>*>;nChronicles of Culturenthat the academy may deem respectable.nBut herein lies a real problem for modernnman, whose institutions of wisdom,nno longer indigenous, have served tonseparate high culture from low culture,nespecially in terms of realms of expenrience, rather than in terms of qualitynof experience. The chief result of suchna split is that many of the stories whichnmay provide the primary moving forcenbehind a culture, say in the realm ofnwork or the marketplace, lose theirnstatus in relation to those stories whichnsupposedly better reflect more “civilized”ntraits.nAs a consequence of this devaluingnof the stories of the low or unrefinednculture, less imaginative energy goesninto their perpetuation, because thenkeenest minds of the time direct theirnperformances elsewhere. The people,nof course, are not deprived of theirnstories; rather, they are left with storiesngreatly diminished in imaginative insightnand artistic quality. When thisnoccurs, and we lose touch with the essencesnof these stories, we lose the opportunitynto imaginatively work throughnthe issues and viable futures embodiednin them.nIn Dreams of Adventure, Deeds ofnEmpire, a work of literary criticismnwhich properly becomes a work of brilliantncultural criticism, Martin Greennsuggests that since the late 1700’s thenadventure tale has fallen prey to thisnphenomenon of cultural dualism. As anresult, Green argues, we have failed tongain a crucial interior view into thendirection our imperialist culture hasntaken, because the intellectual class fornthe most part has failed to participatenin the creation and retelling of those adventurentales so central to our politicalnand economic life. “Insofar as seriousnwriters have turned away from the adventurentale, and its subject matter, thenfrontier and the empire, they haventurned away from an essential part ofnnnmodern history, and that turning awaynhas weakened the character of theirnseriousness.”nBeginning with Defoe, who, ofncourse, has not exactly been neglectednin literary circles owing to his seminalnconnection with the rise of the novel.nGreen traces a course to include Scottnand the Waverly novels, Cooper and thenLeatherstocking tales, and Tolstoy andnThe Cossacks, before voyaging throughnselected works of Mark Twain, RudyardnKipling and Joseph Conrad. This isnhardly an unknown line-up, Conrad, fornone, having been recognized by F. R.nLeavis as part of the great tradition innthe novel, yet the perspective fromnwhich Green views their adventure talesnchallenges established critical assumptions.nIn re-evaluating the adventure storiesnof these authors, Green is not seekingnto offer exhaustive critical readings;nrather, he wants to establish the existencenof various cultural motifs so as tonforce critics to deal more openly withnthe break in 18th-century Britain (andnconsequently in other Western nations)nbetween the exterior sensibility directlynresponding to the challenges of empirenwith its question of economic expansionnand the subjugation of primitive peoplesnand the sensibility which turned inwardntoward matters of human relations andnstates of being. In the first instance,nthe literary expression of cultural issuesngave rise to the vigorous tales of adventure,nthough frequently, as in thencase of Scott, these tales were cloakednin the trappings of romance; in the secondninstance, the domestic novel ofnmanners was born. Thus occurred anfundamental split between the storiesnof the brothers and the stories of thensisters, both traditions ironically beingnfathered by Defoe, which is clearly evidentnwhen Robinson Crusoe is contrastednwith his Religious Courtship andnThe Family. On the one side, literaturenboldly explored the kinds of charactern