Unit8B1 Form as Context

Unit8B1 Form as Context - Unit 8A: Form as Context-The...

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Unit 8A: Form as Context--The Novel
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Lesson One: The Novel The short short can maximize impact through its brevity and condensation. Its format does limit its potential for development, elaboration, and a certain kind of complexity. By virtue of its length, the novel can take advantage of such elaboration.
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“The novel is a long narrative” and “contain[s] a number of characters and incidents” (Beaty 496-498) • There is no set length, but over 20,000 words begins the range of the short novel (novella). A novel is about 70,000 words. • “What differentiates the novel from the short story is not only length but a combination as well of the number of characters, scenes, and incidents; duration and scope of the action; and complexity of the whole work or of one or more of its elements” (Beaty 496). • The experience of reading a novel is like living with it over time. That can be wonderful, but it can also defer impact.
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“The novel is a continuous narrative” (Beaty 497-498) • Length without continuity or a certain cohesion is not enough to make a piece of literature a novel. • If the frame is strong enough, a series of shorter narratives can be tied together to form a unified whole. Beaty gives the example of The Arabian Nights as a narrative frame which cannot sufficiently unify the narrative to qualify as a novel. • Episodic novels are novels when the incidents are brought together by strong character or thematic development, and a solid thread of logic.
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“The novel is a temporal genre” (Beaty 499) • Beaty talks about time in terms of how long it takes to read a novel. • He also talks about the fictional time a novel can cover. We can read about a character’s entire life. The Bildungsroman , is an example of a novel that traces the growth of an individual from youth to maturity.
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A definition of the novel • “The novel is a long continuous narrative in prose, with a number of characters and incidents, and informed by time” (Beaty 499). • It is important to remember, as Beaty points out, that the novel is a genre that changes, evolves, and challenges itself. Read Beaty’s outline of the novel’s historical development and some of its incarnations.
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Verisimilitude The novel is often identified with realism . Its form seems particularly well suited to attempts to capture and portray “real life.” Realism is often judged by how accurately and deeply it “matches” the real. It is also very well suited to experimentations of all sort. As perceptions change and as our ways of understanding changes, so do novels. “We can, then, no longer assume that verisimilitude is a necessary characteristic of the novel, or that the history of the novel of increasingly full and successful representation of everyday reality” (Beaty 503).
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The Experience • The length and depth of a novel allows for immersion. • The novel form gives us the chance to experience
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Unit8B1 Form as Context - Unit 8A: Form as Context-The...

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