Quotation by Dorothy Van Ghent

The procedure of the novel is to individualize. As with other art forms, what it has to say that is of collective value is said by inference from individual concrete things. History, on the other hand, proceeds by generalization. It treats people as groups; and when individuals appear they appear as catalysts of large collective actions or as representatives of groups, their significance being that of the group forces, the collection, the sum. This is a difference of convention, and on the conventions of an art depends its special expressiveness.
Dorothy Van Ghent (b. 1907), U.S. critic, educator. The English Novel: Form and Function, introduction, Rinehart (1953).
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