Intro to the Novel

Intro to the Novel - What is a novel? o Historically:...

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What is a novel? o Historically: readings that first appeared in Europe in early 18th cenury o Formally: "prose fiction of a reasonable length" - Terry Eagleton Novels are characterized by conscious experimentation. Therefore the most typical novel may also be the strangest; " Tristram Shandy is the most typical novel of world literature" Scholars most often locate the inception of the novel as a genre in the late seventeenth or early 18th century Ian Watt, The Rise of the Novel (1957): the novel emerges from: o empiricist philosophy o Capitalist/Protestant focus on individual o Increased prominence of middle class o Growth of literacy, libraries leisure o Defined novel as "Formal realism", which uses language referentially (not so much symbolically or allegorically), matter of fact tone that tries to invoke realism o Narrative of the novel's ascent is teleological o What does Watt mean by "Rise of the Novel"? o Suggests that the genre undergoes an ascent, rise in popularity. Abstract "THE Novel"; THE Novel = distinct from other form of novels which are considered rudimentary and not yet evolved, such as Crusoe. Views "early" novels anachronistically as embryonic versions of form that is later perfected. Conventional wisdom holds that the novel heralds the demise of the marvelous (ie the supernatural). But, arguably, the marvelous persists in the novel, but in a form consistent with increasingly secular and rational values. Empathy and Identification o Novels are uniquely capable of identifying with the reader o Novels encourage empathy which enables conceptualization of human rights (such as empathizing with a fictional slave, and therefore becoming more likely to be anti-slavery/oppression etc) Novels and Modernity o Modernity is "the period in which we cannot agree even on fundamentals. Our values and beliefs are fragmented and discordant and the novel reflects this tradition" (Terry Eagleton). o Novels represent "a world abandoned by God" (George Lukacs) = Crisis of secularization. Bakhtin
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This note was uploaded on 11/26/2011 for the course ENGLISH 161C taught by Professor Kareem during the Fall '11 term at UCLA.

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Intro to the Novel - What is a novel? o Historically:...

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