The Whirligig and Furphy
Every new book on Shakespeare, said a critic (Stoll?), falls into two parts: the first part is always good—that is where the author demolishes previous theories; the second part is always bad—that is where he proposes his own theory. I am fortunately not quite in that position, for it would not be good if I demolished, or tried to demolish, former theories about Such Is Life, since each of them seems to have made some contribution to the elucidation of that complicated work. Nor have I a theory of my own to replace potential victims, for indeed it is likely enough that most if not all conceivable theories have by now been expounded. All I want to do is to cover cursorily the changes in opinion, about the structure or unity of the book, since its appearance, with stress on the narrative interweavings, and to wonder if perhaps the balance of evaluation—or a few balances—should be redressed. Among those who have read the novel and the criticisms at odd intervals over a period of years I have a suspicion that there are some others who feel the same.
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