IN DEFENSE OF THE POLITICAL NOVEL
TIME OF EXILE, the third volume of Gaither Stewart’s Europe Trilogy, is a political novel. I see no reasons to conceal it or to feel shame. On the contrary.
Are the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Miguel Angel Asturias not political? And worthy of the Nobel Prize.
Of course one may say that those are not Anglo-American literature, but Latin American. Still, as if the novels of Graham Greene were not political. As if Hemingway’s best novels were not political. As if The Grapes of Wrath, All the Kings Men, and Catch-22 were not political novels.
Only fools and cowards can turn up their noses at the political novel in today’s world in which neo-liberals have created a huge economic crisis, in a world in which NATO blatantly organizes one aggression after another—against Yugoslavia, against Iraq, against Afghanistan, against Libya, against Cote d’Ivoire—overthrows disagreeable governments and installs in their place marionettes. That is, in a world governed by rotten politics.
It is stupid to turn up one’s nose at political novels today when works like Fifty Shades of Grey are foisted on you as the only alternative political prose.
You will not read intellectual-political prose but you read Shades of Grey. Then you unlearn how to read. Then how to think. You unlearn how to speak. You begin to bellow. You become part of the herd. And the same persons who organized the world economic crisis and aggression against Yugoslavia and Libya with a crack of the whip will drive you to the slaughter-house. They will make of you a cheap sausage of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Writer, Sociologist, Historian, Literary Critic