at school; he liked mathematics; henlacked ambition in the civil service;nhe had a thick neck, and his legs weren”not long enough”; he suffered fromnunrequited love; he was devoted to hisnmother; he was “far from impotent”;nand so on, and so on. Perhaps such detailsnmight be shown to possess a significancenbeyond themselves; Lord Snownseems to love them aiihlessly, for theirnown sake. They lead him to no insightninto Stendhal’s character, nor do theynhelp us to understand his work. Indeed,nLord Snow’s discussion of Stendhal’snmasterpieces makes no effort to relatenthem seriously to his life. ‘We are told,nfor example, that Julien Sorel—the heronof The Red and the Black—s “the firstnvoice of ultimate class hatred in a majornwork of literature,” and that “Stendhalnidentified himself with Julien.” However,nnothing in the account of Stendhal’snlife prepares us to see him as annapostle of class hatred. On the contrary,nLord Snow asserts that the author ofnThe Charterhouse of Parma “wouldnhave liked to be an Italian aristocrat.”nPossibly class hatred and the desire tonbe an Italian aristocrat can be madencompatible, but one would like to benshown how. In fact. Lord Snow’s viewnof the role of class in The Red and thenBlack is unconvincing—and left whollynunsubstantiated. Class hatred cannotnexplain Julien’s ultimate motivation,nand in any case he does not enjoy thenuncritical sympathy of his creator. GivennLord Snow’s interpretation, however,none must raise a question. Why has henchosen to praise the “realism” of a novelnthat he believes to be inspired by classnhatred.” What lesson are we to derivenfrom this.”nSimilar examples of superficiality andnincoherence occur plentifully in everynchapter, but nowhere is the book’s failurenmore evident than in the chaptersnon Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. As figuresnof the very highest authority in worldnliterature, they stand out even amongnthe other great “realists,” and the remarkablenfeatures of their lives —nDostoevsky’s youthful career as a revolutionary,nhis compulsive gambling, hisnemergence as a spokesman for conservatism;nTolstoy’s transformation fromndissolute young aristocrat into prophetnof moral reform—make them especiallynsuited to an analysis that blendsnbiography with literary criticism. Furthermore,nboth require special interpretationnbecause they challenge so radicallynthe values that prevail in Europe andnAmerica today. Both rejected utterlyn••.•XnuMiy all ilii^i- e.Mvili-nr ]iicci-s. noni- are tim-rnlii)ii.s i)t DosiDiAskv .IIKI I olstov.”nthe scientific, commercial, democraticnand “progressive” culture of liberalnEurope. To both, the liberalism thatngrew out of the Enlightenment seemednantagonistic to religion and a healthynpolitical and social order; and while thendetails of their programs differ, bothnmen sought’ to restore an essentiallynChristian polity. In this, they shockednnineteenth-century intellectuals muchnas another great Russian novelist—Solzhenitsyn—shocksnour own. Lord Snownsimply declines the task of trying toncome to grips with the “realism” andnthe importance for our time ofnDostoevsky and Tolstoy. He contentsnhimself with a few facts and platitudes.nPrivate Part as ThingnKingsley Amis: Jake’s Thing; VikingnPress; New York.nby Joseph SchwartznJVingsley Amis’s first and best novel,nLucky Jim, established expectations fornhis subsequent work that were not fulfilled.nThis new novel is being misreadnin some quarters, ironically enough, becausenit comes closer to realizing whatnProfessor Schwartz, of Marquette University,nedits the quarterly Renascence.nnnspiced with a great deal of gossip aboutnthe sex lives of the great men. Thenfacts, although sparse, seem to be accurate;nthe gossip is mostly silly; but thenplatitudes can mislead. For example, inndiscussing the Grand Inquisitor sectionnof The Brothers Karamazov, Lord Snownuncritically adopts the existentialist-leftistntradition that stresses Ivan Karamazov’snhatred of God, and ignores thenreligious affirmation that derives fromnDostoevsky’s overall design. A distortionnrich exjn— Wall Slrct’l Journalnof this kind, or the distortion of The Rednandthe Black mentioned earlier, couplednwith the general triviality of approachnthroughout, makes one wonder aboutnLord Snow’s preparation, or motives. Didnhe fail to study his material with sufficientncare.’ Is he unaware of what otherncritics have done.” Or is he engaged innan effort to make what he has to saynconform to the taste of his audience.’nIs he more concerned with mimickingnthe thoughts that his readers alreadynaccept than with trying to lead them tonconceptions that are different, older andnmore difficult.’ In any case, The Realistsnhas nothing important to teach aboutneither art or life. DnLucky Jim promised than any of theneleven novels since then. I will try tonlook at Jake’s Thing without allowingnthe happy memory of Jim’s antics toncast a troublesome shadow over mynevaluation. It is enough to say by waynof comparison that Jake is not Jimngrown older, and that 25 years laternAmis is much less lighthearted.nOxford don Jaques (Jake) Richardson,nnearly 60, has worked out a tolerable,nmundane pattern of life with Brenda,nhis third wife. But this circumscribednenclave is threatened by his disturbingn113nIVovember/December 1979n