Didacticism in the fictional works of Harold Horwood

Spracklin, Rochelle Mary (1990) Didacticism in the fictional works of Harold Horwood. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The main purpose of didactic literature is to instruct rather than to entertain; consequently, the author intrudes upon the reader with his own views. Harold Horwood's view of art has been didactic from the beginning of his writing career. From his earliest years as an editor of a local literary magazine, through his time as a political columnist, he used his writing as a means of expounding on the many controversial topics of concern to him. -- When he turned his attention to fictional writing in the 1960's, his adherence to the didactic theory of literature became even more pronounced. His novels abound in expressions of his opinions on moral, social, and political issues. In Tomorrow Will Be Sunday Horwood elaborates on his feelings towards organized fundamentalist religion as it affects the Newfoundland outport. The major criticism levelled against this work is that Horwood forces his negative ideas on a setting with which he is only vaguely familiar. In the case of White Eskimo, Horwood is using a setting with which, as a member of the House of Assembly for Labrador and as a frequent traveller to the area, he was familiar. But the didacticism is just as distinct, as he clearly uses the novel to attack white colonialism in Labrador. The short stories in Only the Gods Speak and the novel Remembering Summer are vehicles primarily for Horwood’s ideas on the counterculture movement in which he was an active participant. -- Political, religious, and social didacticism takes precedence for Horwood in his fiction. The didacticism is often so blatant that readers may be offended and the positive aspects of the works may be overlooked. The didacticism has caused many critics to perceive Horwood’s work as flawed, even though there are some admirable qualities in his fiction. Indeed, it can be argued that some of the finest sections of his work - for example, his descriptions of the natural environment in Tomorrow Will Be Sunday and White Eskimo - are the least didactic. Yet the lasting impression one receives on reading Horwood's fiction is that of a man whose convictions are so strong that he cannot avoid authorial intrusion. His works are both powerful and revealing, and he has made a significant contribution to the literary history of Newfoundland.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5474
Item ID: 5474
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 100-107.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1990
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Horwood, Harold, 1923-2006--Criticism and interpretation; Didactic literature, Canadian

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