“The Condition of the Novel” by Jiri Hajek

A selection from a conference of European writers at Leningrad, Summer 1963.

One can talk about the crisis in the novel only when literature becomes charged with radical scepticism, the conviction that it is impossible to know reality and that human existence on earth has no meaning at all. And let me say too that literary tendencies which are in disagreement with this total scepticism, which in their programme are satisfied with descriptions of certain isolated and incomplete elements of life, which want to create their own relationships and to abandon all social and moral responsibility, these tendencies themselves represent one of the manifestations of the crisis in the novel….

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