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What Is To Be Done About The Social Novel?

Chernyshevsky in prison, painting by Gorovych (1953) The new issue of Harper's includes a review-essay by Jonathan Dee that asks a question summed up by the writer of the headline as "Does the social novel have a future?" Ultimately, though, the essay is not so much concerned with that question as with questions of imagination and representation.Dee reviews (or at least mentions) four recent books (three novels, one nonfiction account) which got him thinking about questions of what tends to be called "cultural appropriation" and the limits of fictionality.
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