only recover by putting aside the world and the self thatnfrequents the world,”nAnd it is curious—yet not really surprising—that almostnthe same thought about the writer’s writing self should havenbeen expressed by a quite difierent writer, Somerset Maugham.nIn his fictional portrait of Thomas Hardy in Cakesnand Ale, Maugham, by a wonderful stroke (which earnednhim much abuse), showed the tragic novelist of Wessex tonbe in his private life extraordinarily ordinary, and for thatnreason mysterious. “I had an impression”—this isnMaugham’s summing up—“that the real man, to his deathnunknown and lonely, was a wraith that went a silent waynunseen between the writer of his books and the man whonled his life, and smiled with an ironical detachment at thentwo puppets.”nRESCUING STORY FROM HISTORYnby Frederick TurnernBy the end of the 18th century, the novel had alreadynbegun to replace the rich variety of narrative genres thatnpreceded it. This is a familiar theme in the history of thenarts in the modern period. One particular artistic formncomes to be preferred for its freedom; it crowds out the othernforms, which are disdained for their traditional limitations;nfinally the artist is less free than she was at the beginning,nhaving only one genre for her thoughts rather than many.n(The same thing has happened with the lyric poem.)nThe great novelists of the 19th century well understoodnthe subtie handicaps of that apparentiy freest of forms. Innhis foreword to The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky beratesnhis readers in advance for their anticipated preference fornthe psychologically “interesting” figures of Ivan and Dmitri,nand insists that it is Alyosha, the holy brother, who is thentrue hero. Tolstoy impHcitiy does the same thing in AnnanKarenina, giving us a Levin whose motivations are notnentirely novelistic, as a counterweight to his Anna andnVronsky, who are, as it were, virtuoso compositions ofnnovelistic psychology. In The Mill on the Floss and Middlemarchnwe can, I think, see George Eliot struggling in thensame way to release her heroines from the sociopsychologicalndeterminism that the novel form itself subtly imposes.nIn Madame Bovary we see the same theme but with andifferent strategy for dealing with it. Emma’s psychicnstraitjacket is thematized as tragic, in almost the same waynthat in Greek tragedy the dramatic form itself, of whichnirony is an essential structural feature, plays the part of thendivine fate that destroys the hero.nWhat is it that the great novelists were battiing against?nEssentially this: When the novel abandoned the constraintsnof the classical narrative genres—meter, allegorical significance,nmythic structure, etc.—it had to replace them withnanother constraint which, because it was largely invisible,npart of a body of unexamined assumptions, was the morentyrannous. That constraint is what we know as motivationalnverisimilitude, or consistency of character. It is made up ofntwo elements: the sociological and the psychological. ThenFrederick Turner, poet and essayist, is Founder’s Professornof Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas atnDallas. His most recent book is The New Worldn(Princeton University Press).nprice the novelist pays for freedom from the old constraintsnis to be forced to create characters who are psychic and/ornsocial automata; the contract between writer and readernrequires that the reader be flattered in his worldly theory ofnhuman motivation, his shrewd estimate of human predictability.nSince probability is now the only constraint and thusnthe only expressive medium whose manipulation mightnconstitute meaning, woe betide the novelist who creates ancharacter that resists the currentiy favored fashion of psychologicalnor social determination! Such a character is notnonly a sort of moral insult to a reader who considers herselfnbound by those laws and excuses her conduct by means ofnthem, but is also an aesthetically discordant note in thennnMAY 1987/ISn