A review from the New York Medical Journal , Volume 116: MODERN PSYCHOLOGY IN THE NOVEL. A vital book is Babel . Of primary interest to the psychologist is the self revelation of a young Jew burdened with a triple handicap of racial, individual and circumstantial inferiorities. From his angle we are shown the world, which to him is not the same, yet in many instances his picture is nearer the truth. Driven into himself, struggling with his own inadequacies, he finds with accuracy the weak spots of our evolved ...
A review from the New York Medical Journal , Volume 116: MODERN PSYCHOLOGY IN THE NOVEL. A vital book is Babel . Of primary interest to the psychologist is the self revelation of a young Jew burdened with a triple handicap of racial, individual and circumstantial inferiorities. From his angle we are shown the world, which to him is not the same, yet in many instances his picture is nearer the truth. Driven into himself, struggling with his own inadequacies, he finds with accuracy the weak spots of our evolved civilization; so we find shortcomings of character, the demivierge, the false friend, the prostitute from choice, the businessman-philosopher, the philosophical businessman, the sadist, the fool. In his quest for decency and growth, a' decency somewhat moulded by his ancestral past and the growth affected by the commercial present, the boy from the Russian woods meets a material world ingrown from its rapid overgrowth and bent on destruction.... The period covered by this book is the one that opens the gates of maturity for the Jewish boy whose family has emigrated from Russia to America to regain their foothold. Finally, the boy's craving for self expression, which he seeks in literature, causes him to cut adrift from family and go to London, the source of good English literature. His struggles with people, himself, his surroundings, and, finally, with a female who is caught in a conflict of her own between her craving for sexual expression and security, as expressed by one well able to care for her, make the reader follow these combats with a keen interest. John Gombarov, the hero, is not so immersed in his own self pity that he is unable to struggle for a creative goal, or to fail to make keen observations on life, philosophy, art, economics, religion and literature. These observations are brilliant and well grounded. Attention is given to unconscious processes, as by the interpolation of Gombarov's dreams and some of his fancies. Yet reality never flees from fantasy. Each is measured with a surprising surety. Beauty and poetic expression intermingle with harsh reality yet each falls into its proper niche at the proper moment. Here the artistry of the writer is revealed. In many ways Cournos resembles the best of the Russian writers as somewhat tempered by western civilization. With skill he animates and individualizes the cities of London, Paris, New York and Philadelphia. Here alone he makes the error of treating his palette with his own affective reactions. The thing is more than well done and holds more than an element of truth, so this fault in reasoning from the particular to the general and back again to the particular we shall be obliged to overlook, for Cournos has no monopoly of this fault. We all have it in a measure. One of the reiterated notes in the book is the internationalization of art, of commerce, of education, of thought, of action. This is brought up from time to time and its influence on civilization is emphasized. There will be no war ... and then, in spite of all and the conclusions entailed in some of the discussions, the close of the book brings us to a period just prior to the World War. Cournos leads us to believe that more will follow regarding the life and struggles of Gombarov. No doubt these will prove as interesting as Babel. The earlier works of Cournos, The Mask and The Wall, give the boyhood and youth of John Gombarov, and are also extremely well written. They tend to complete the background of Gombarov, whose life history as revealed by Cournos is one of the most interesting and searching that has ever been written.... ...The younger writers of fiction are bringing us much fine psychological material-Cournos, Sinclair Lewis, James Joyce, Ben Hecht, and Waldo Frank. They have virility and a consciousness of what they are about.
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.