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The Novel is Dead Long Live the Novel

The novel as practiced today is an archaic form that no longer answers the needs of the modern psyche.
It presents a rigid, exhausted formula, and has grown unwieldy as an instrument of expression.
It lacks the possibility of further evolution, because it clings to the descriptive requisites of a banal universe.
It has grown artificial, and, like the rhyme, represents a straitjacket to the creative visionary of our age.
The novel of the future will be a compendium of all the manifestation of life in a timeless and spaceless projection.
The novel of the future will use telegrams, letters, decrees, fairy tales, legends, and dreams as documents for the new mythos.
The novel of the future will be a plastic encyclopedia of the fusion of subjective and objective reality.
The novel of the future will synthesize all the styles of the epoch in an effort towards unity.
The novel of the future will plunge into the underworld of out being and create fables in consciousness.
The novel of the future will produce new myths of dynamic movement of the century.
The novel of the future will express the magic reality in a language that is non-imitative and evolutionary.

Harry Crosby
Stuart Gilbert
Eugene Jolas
Theo Rutra
Robert Sage
- transition no. 18, November 1929

Found this manifesto in Appendix (Some Notes on the Contents of transition, 1929 - 1936. ) to Dylan Thomas' Early Prose: A Study in Creative Mythology by Annis Pratt. According to the writer of the book, "The essays, manifestos, stories, and poems in this avant-grade periodical [transition, published in Paris] of 1927 - 1938 bear striking analogy to the concerns underlying Dylan Thomas' early prose."

"Novel is dead!" has been exclaimed many times ( at times we read it twice every six month in newspapers and non-fiction books). Invariable, someone denies and cries aloud, "Long Live the Novel!"

What really interested me in this particular manifesto from 1929 were the lines about "timeless and spaceless projection", "telegrams, letters, decrees, fairy tales, legends, and dreams as documents for the new mythos" and "a plastic encyclopedia of the fusion of subjective and objective reality".

Isn't the Internet, as an instrument of expression, already ebbing along the same lines?


* Theo Rutra was a pseudonym used by Eugene Jolas on many occasions.
You can see the "introduction" to the Manifesto here


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