harmony of the form itselfnIf, for instance, the Hbidinal drive is popularly believed tonbe fundamental, then it is useless, indeed rather sinister, tonresist it even if it requires breaking faith with other people.nIn fact it is heroic, as in the case of Connie and Mellors innLady Chatterley’s Lover, to give that impulse absolute sway.nThe reader is sentimentally warmed by this compliment tonhis own incontinence; and conversely, offended by ancharacter who denies it. Perhaps the ultimate such psychicnautomaton is the heroine of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.nIf on the other hand social forces are thought to governnmotivation, the realism and verisimilitudes that keep opennthe channel between writer and reader will consist inncharacterizations that obey the laws of class and socialnhistory. Such is the socialist novel, though the naturalisticnnovel before it had a strong tendency in this direction also.nPerhaps it was in response to an unconscious sense ofnthese constraints, as well as for the reasons already cited fornthe destructiveness of modern art, that the novelists progressivelynundermined all the foundations of their form itself,nexcept for the one—motivational verisimilitude—that wasncausing the trouble. The original plot of the novel was ancourtship leading to a marriage. With variations andnelaborations, this single plot could serve as a capaciousnframework for whatever else the novelist wanted to do. Asnlong as the moment of sexual union was delayed—andnmuch of the novelist’s art consisted of ingenious delays—nthe plot was alive and could carry freight.nThis plot gradually came under attack. The marriagesnbecame more and more objectionable to the societies innwhich they took place; then came the novel of adultery, thennovel of multiple adultery, the novel of sexual freedom,nand the loss of that suspense which is so central a part of anstory. A new plot had to be found, and it was. It consisted ofnthe liberation of the protagonist from the society of his ornher birth; a liberation at first fatal to the hero or heroine, butneventually, as this plot matured, beneficial. Gradually thenliberated protagonist came to be identified with the author,nand the novel lost most of its other characters and came tonresemble autobiography. Now the novel was adopted by thenIn the forthcoming issue of Chronicles:nMen Without Womenn”Few men now are craftsmen, that is, few men are nownChristian. No longer artists, we serve the autonomousnmachine. For a long time the machine as tool aided thencraftsmen to make. A divine inheritance withers whennthe tool becomes the master and the Word is drowned innwords.”n16 / CHRONICLESn—from “A Myth in a Garden”nby Andrew Lytlennnacademy and suspense was no longer required to keep itsnpaid readers. So plot itself was abandoned in the New Novelnand its ilk, to undergo a phantom resurrection in thenpostmodern novel as the quoted fiction of a fictional author.nBut the ball and chain of psychosocial verisimilitudenremained through all these changes.nAnother way of putting this is in terms of the tense of thennovel: the past historic. When a novelist tries to escape bynusing the present tense, it feels like the historic present. Thencharacters are fixed to an ineluctable past which they cannnever escape: They are temporal automata going throughntheir psychic motions before the eyes of a godlike reader,nwhose secure place in the present preserves him like a godnabove the struggles of the protagonists and whose feelingsnperhaps include a trace of sadistic voyeurism.nThe point becomes clear when we contrast the novel withndifferent narrative forms. Consider the myth, whose timelessnheroes and heroines are terrifyingly free to establish anlanguage of action for us to emulate or avoid. Or the epic,nwhich does the same but does it within history, showing usnhow to generate our own kind of time, for a whole society.nEven the mere addition of poetic meter, by bringing intondirect play other parts of the brain than the linguisticncapacities of the left temporal lobe, can provide a playfulnspaciousness, an openness to mystery, an alternate structurento psychological probability that can release a story’s protagonistsnand readers into a greater world.nOr take science fiction, which, since it rejects thenpsychosocial givens, turning them over to the technologicalnimagination of its protagonists, is not much concerned withnmotivational verisimilitude; but which can make perfectnsense as a story to an attuned reader, while, like myth, itntakes up anew the great philosophical and scientific questionsnabandoned for so long by the mainstream novelists.nAgain, drama, which is genuinely always in the presentntense, need not be tied down to psychosocial determinism;nthose wonderfully subtle and moving automata of Ibsen andnChekhov do feel to us in the past tense, but the allegoricalnfigures of Brecht and Beckett do not in the same way,nhowever dated the Marxist or existentialist ideas theynrepresent. Shakespeare, who has his characters choose andnperform their own masks—all the world’s a stage, and allnthe men and women merely players—gives us all thenpleasure of a novel while preserving the protean initiative ofnhis characters. The detective novel occupies an interestingnplace in this classification, for the detective is indeed in thenpresent tense, while all the suspects she analyzes are in thenpast. But the detective pays for this godlike power by anhermetic and hermeneutic detachment from the world;nunable to take part in the actions of the automata, she cannonly, like the reader, come to understand them.nThe postmodern solution to the problem of psychosocialnautomatism is no real solution; for in insisting on thenfictional arbitrariness of his characters, the postmodernnnovelist simply turns himself into the god of the storynuniverse, and his characters act out his own imputednpsychic automatisms. John Fowles has sought a way out ofnthe problem in The French Lieutenant’s Woman by providingnmultiple endings and in Daniel Martin by abandoningnhis own fictional narrator. But in doing this he hasnessentiallv borrowed from science fiction the device ofn