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Thomas G. Pavel - The Lives of the Novel: A History. (2013 hdbk, 2015 obk) | Princeton University Press
This is a bold and original original history of the novel from ancient Greece to the vibrant world of contemporary fiction. In this wide-ranging survey, Pavel argues that the driving force behind the novel's evolution has been a rivalry between stories that idealize human behavior and those that ridicule and condemn it. Impelled by this conflict, the novel moved from depicting strong souls to sensitive hearts and, finally, to enigmatic psyches. Pavel analyzes more than a hundred novels from Europe, North and South America, Asia, and beyond, resulting in a provocative reinterpretation of its development. According to Pavel, the earliest novels were implausible because their characters were either perfect or villainous. In the 18thC and 19thC, novelists strove for greater credibility by describing the inner lives of ideal characters in minute detail (as in Richardson's case), or by closely examining the historical and social environment (as Scott and Balzac did). Yet the earlier rivalry continued: Fielding held the line against idealism, defending the comic tradition with its flawed characters, while Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot offered a rejoinder to social realism with their idealized vision of strong, generous, and sensitive women. In the twentieth century, modernists like Proust and Joyce sought to move beyond this conflict and capture the enigmatic workings of the psyche. Pavel concludes his compelling account by showing how the old tensions persist even within today's pluralism, as popular novels about heroes coexist with a wealth of other kinds of works, from satire to social and psychological realism. -- Prof. of French, Comparative Literature, and Social Thought at the U. of Chicago, also "Fictional Worlds" and "The Spell of Language." -- downloaded introduction to Note
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june 2015 by dunnettreader
Srinivas Aravamudan - Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel (2011) 360 pages | Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
A MUST BUY -- Srinivas Aravamudan here reveals how Oriental tales, pseudo-ethnographies, sexual fantasies, and political satires took Europe by storm during the eighteenth century. Naming this body of fiction Enlightenment Orientalism, he poses a range of urgent questions that uncovers the interdependence of Oriental tales and domestic fiction, thereby challenging standard scholarly narratives about the rise of the novel. More than mere exoticism, Oriental tales fascinated ordinary readers as well as intellectuals, taking the fancy of philosophers such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Diderot in France, and writers such as Defoe, Swift, and Goldsmith in Britain. Aravamudan shows that Enlightenment Orientalism was a significant movement that criticized irrational European practices even while sympathetically bridging differences among civilizations. A sophisticated reinterpretation of the history of the novel, Enlightenment Orientalism is sure to be welcomed as a landmark work in eighteenth-century studies.
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september 2014 by dunnettreader

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