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Modern Fiction
C. D. Warner

Page 1 of 30


Modern Fiction 

By Charles Dudley Warner 

One of the worst characteristics of modern fiction is its so-called truth
to nature.  For fiction is an art, as painting is, as sculpture is, as
acting is.  A photograph of a natural object is not art; nor is the
plaster cast of a man's face, nor is the bare setting on the stage of an
actual occurrence.  Art requires an idealization of nature.  The amateur,
though she may be a lady, who attempts to represent upon the stage the
lady of the drawing-room, usually fails to convey to the spectators the
impression of a lady.  She lacks the art by which the trained actress,
who may not be a lady, succeeds.  The actual transfer to the stage of the
drawing-room and its occupants, with the behavior common in well-bred
society, would no doubt fail of the intended dramatic effect, and the
spectators would declare the representation unnatural. 

However our jargon of criticism may confound terms, we do not need to be
reminded that art and nature are distinct; that art, though dependent on

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