english lit_2070 - the novel And the canon is just the tip...

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the novel. And the canon is just the tip of the iceberg: there was in Chinaan immense investment of intellectual energies in the edition, revision, continuation, and especially commentary of novels. These were already very long books, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, 600,000 words, the inter-lineal commentary made it almost a million—but it added so much ‘to the enjoyment . . . of the novel’, writes David Rolston, ‘that editions without commentary . . . went out of circulation’.11 ‘The novel has less need of . . . commentary than other genres’, writes Watt in The Rise of the Novel, 12 and for Europe he’s right. But Chinese novels

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