"One of the main developments in recent American literature has got to be a newly self-conscious traditionalism." A report on this decade's fiction finds a rebirth of classical values: "For the novel, this means endorsing a relatively high degree of sentimentality, as against the chilly affect of someone like DeLillo or Brett Easton Ellis; a 'well-rounded' approach to characterization, as against a previously avant-garde commitment to the evasiveness or speciousness of robust personal identity; and an acceptance of all the artificial contrivance involved in the kind of plotting associated with Dickens, say."