How Novels Work

Author: John Mullan

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191622923

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 368

View: 4846

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Never has contemporary fiction been more widely discussed and passionately analysed; recent years have seen a huge growth in the number of reading groups and in the interest of a non-academic readership in the discussion of how novels work. Drawing on his weekly Guardian column, 'Elements of Fiction', John Mullan examines novels mostly of the last ten years, many of which have become firm favourites with reading groups. He reveals the rich resources of novelistic technique, setting recent fiction alongside classics of the past. Nick Hornby's adoption of a female narrator is compared to Daniel Defoe's; Ian McEwan's use of weather is set against Austen's and Hardy's; Carole Shield's chapter divisions are likened to Fanny Burney's. Each section shows how some basic element of fiction is used. Some topics (like plot, dialogue, or location) will appear familiar to most novel readers; others (metanarrative, prolepsis, amplification) will open readers' eyes to new ways of understanding and appreciating the writer's craft. How Novels Work explains how the pleasures of novel reading often come from the formal ingenuity of the novelist. It is an entertaining and stimulating exploration of that ingenuity. Addressed to anyone who is interested in the close reading of fiction, it makes visible techniques and effects we are often only half-aware of as we read. It shows that literary criticism is something that all fiction enthusiasts can do. Contemporary novels discussed include: Monica Ali's Brick Lane; Martin Amis's Money; Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin; A.S. Byatt's Possession; Jonathan Coe's The Rotters' Club; J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace; Michael Cunningham's The Hours; Don DeLillo's Underworld; Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White; Ian Fleming's From Russia with Love; Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections; Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time; Patricia Highsmith's Ripley under Ground; Alan Hollinghurst's The Spell; Nick Hornby's How to Be Good; Ian McEwan's Atonement; John le Carré's The Constant Gardener; Andrea Levy's Small Island; David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas; Andrew O'Hagan's Personality; Orhan Pamuk's My Name Is Red; Ann Patchett's Bel Canto; Ruth Rendell's Adam and Eve and Pinch Me; Philip Roth's The Human Stain; Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated; Carol Shields's Unless; Zadie Smith's White Teeth; Muriel Spark's Aiding and Abetting; Graham Swift's Last Orders; Donna Tartt's The Secret History; William Trevor's The Hill Bachelors; and Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road .
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How Novels Think

The Limits of Individualism from 1719-1900

Author: Nancy Armstrong

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231503873

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 224

View: 4219

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Nancy Armstrong argues that the history of the novel and the history of the modern individual are, quite literally, one and the same. She suggests that certain works of fiction created a subject, one displaying wit, will, or energy capable of shifting the social order to grant the exceptional person a place commensurate with his or her individual worth. Once the novel had created this figure, readers understood themselves in terms of a narrative that produced a self-governing subject. In the decades following the revolutions in British North America and France, the major novelists distinguished themselves as authors by questioning the fantasy of a self-made individual. To show how novels by Defoe, Austen, Scott, Brontë, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy, Haggard, and Stoker participated in the process of making, updating, and perpetuating the figure of the individual, Armstrong puts them in dialogue with the writings of Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Malthus, Darwin, Kant, and Freud. Such theorists as Althusser, Balibar, Foucault, and Deleuze help her make the point that the individual was not one but several different figures. The delineation and potential of the modern subject depended as much upon what it had to incorporate as what alternatives it had to keep at bay to address the conflicts raging in and around the British novel.
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Novel Ideas

Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process

Author: Barbara Shoup,Margaret-Love Denman

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

ISBN: 0820332798

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 334

View: 3686

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Novel Ideas provides a substantial introduction to the elements of fiction followed by in-depth interviews with successful novelists who speak with candor and insight into the complex process by which a novel is made. This edition includes new and updated interviews as well as writing exercises to enhance its use in the writing classroom. Dorothy Allison recalls "deliciously self-indulgent" days of writing in her bathrobe, wrapped in misery and exultation; Peter Cameron explains how he made the move from short fiction to the novel with the aid of a music composer's notebook to track the movement of his characters. Writers as different as Ha Jin, Jill McCorkle, Richard Ford, and Michael Chabon describe their unique approaches to their work while consistently affirming the necessity of committing to the hard effort of it while also remaining open to surprise. Aspiring novelists will find hands-on strategies for beginning, working through, and revising a novel; accomplished novelists will discover new ways to solve the problems they face in process; and serious readers of contemporary fiction will enjoy a glimpse into the way novels are made. Includes interviews with: Dorothy Allison Larry Brown Peter Cameron Michael Chabon Michael Cunningham Robb Forman Dew Richard Ford Ha Jin Patricia Henley Charles Johnson Wally Lamb Valerie Martin Jill McCorkle Sena Jeter Naslund Lewis Nordan Sheri Reynolds S. J. Rozan Jane Smiley Lee Smith Theodore Weesner
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The Novel After Theory

Author: Judith Ryan

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231157436

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 272

View: 2521

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Novels began to incorporate literary theory in unexpected ways in the late twentieth century. Through allusion, parody, or implicit critique, theory formed an additional strand in fiction that raised questions about the nature of authorship and the practice of writing. Studying this phenomenon provides fresh insight into the recent development of the novel and the persistence of modern theory beyond the period of its greatest success. In this book, Judith Ryan opens these questions to a range of readers, drawing them into debates over the value of theory. Ryan investigates what prompted fiction writers to incorporate and respond to theory nearly thirty years ago. Designed for readers unfamiliar with the complexities of theory, Ryan’s book introduces the discipline’s major trends and controversies and notes the salient ideas of a carefully selected set of individual thinkers. Ryan follows novelists’ adaptation to and engagement with arguments drawn from theory as they translate abstract ideas into language, structure, and fictional strategy. At the core of her book is a fascinating microstudy of French poststructuralism in its dialogue with narrative fiction. Investigating theories of textuality, psychology, and society in the work of Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon, J. M. Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, W. G. Sebald, and Umberto Eco, as well as Monika Maron, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Marguerite Duras, Marilynne Robinson, David Foster Wallace, and Christa Wolf, Ryan identifies subtle negotiations between author and theory and the richness this dynamic adds to texts. Resetting the way we think and learn about literature, her book reads current literary theory while uniquely tracing its shaping of a genre.
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Women, Work, and Clothes in the Eighteenth-Century Novel

Author: Chloe Wigston Smith

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107276756

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: N.A

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This groundbreaking study examines the vexed and unstable relations between the eighteenth-century novel and the material world. Rather than exploring dress's transformative potential, it charts the novel's vibrant engagement with ordinary clothes in its bid to establish new ways of articulating identity and market itself as a durable genre. In a world in which print culture and textile manufacturing traded technologies, and paper was made of rags, the novel, by contrast, resisted the rhetorical and aesthetic links between dress and expression, style and sentiment. Chloe Wigston Smith shows how fiction exploited women's work with clothing - through stealing, sex work, service, stitching, and the stage - in order to revise and reshape material culture within its pages. Her book explores a diverse group of authors, including Jane Barker, Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Charlotte Lennox, John Cleland, Frances Burney and Mary Robinson.
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Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent

Author: Wayne C. Booth

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226065724

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 235

View: 1228

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When should I change my mind? What can I believe and what must I doubt? In this new "philosophy of good reasons" Wayne C. Booth exposes five dogmas of modernism that have too often inhibited efforts to answer these questions. Modern dogmas teach that "you cannot reason about values" and that "the job of thought is to doubt whatever can be doubted," and they leave those who accept them crippled in their efforts to think and talk together about whatever concerns them most. They have willed upon us a "befouled rhetorical climate" in which people are driven to two self-destructive extremes—defenders of reason becoming confined to ever narrower notions of logical or experimental proof and defenders of "values" becoming more and more irresponsible in trying to defend the heart, the gut, or the gonads. Booth traces the consequences of modernist assumptions through a wide range of inquiry and action: in politics, art, music, literature, and in personal efforts to find "identity" or a "self." In casting doubt on systematic doubt, the author finds that the dogmas are being questioned in almost every modern discipline. Suggesting that they be replaced with a rhetoric of "systematic assent," Booth discovers a vast, neglected reservoir of "good reasons"—many of them known to classical students of rhetoric, some still to be explored. These "good reasons" are here restored to intellectual respectability, suggesting the possibility of widespread new inquiry, in all fields, into the question, "When should I change my mind?"
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Memoir

An Introduction

Author: G. Thomas Couser

Publisher: OUP USA

ISBN: 0199826900

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 206

View: 2605

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A compact, pithy guide to the most popular form of life-writing, Memoir: An Introduction provides a primer to the ubiquitous literary form and its many subgenres.
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Before Fiction

The Ancien Regime of the Novel

Author: Nicholas D. Paige

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 0812205103

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 304

View: 5725

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Fiction has become nearly synonymous with literature itself, as if Homer and Dante and Pynchon were all engaged in the same basic activity. But one difficulty with this view is simply that a literature trafficking in openly invented characters is a quite recent development. Novelists before the nineteenth century ceaselessly asserted that their novels were true stories, and before that, poets routinely took their basic plots and heroes from the past. We have grown accustomed to thinking of the history of literature and the novel as a progression from the ideal to the real. Yet paradoxically, the modern triumph of realism is also the triumph of a literature that has shed all pretense to literalness. Before Fiction: The Ancien Régime of the Novel offers a new understanding of the early history of the genre in England and France, one in which writers were not slowly discovering a type of fictionality we now take for granted but rather following a distinct set of practices and rationales. Nicholas D. Paige reinterprets Lafayette's La Princesse de Clèves, Rousseau's Julie, ou la Nouvelle Héloïse, Diderot's La Religieuse, and other French texts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in light of the period's preoccupation with literal truth. Paige argues that novels like these occupied a place before fiction, a pseudofactual realm that in no way leads to modern realism. The book provides an alternate way of looking at a familiar history, and in its very idiom and methodology charts a new course for how we should study the novel and think about the evolution of cultural forms.
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The Oxford Companion to English Literature

Author: Dinah Birch

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191030848

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 1184

View: 9925

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The Oxford Companion to English Literature has long been established as the leading reference resource for students, teachers, scholars, and general readers of English literature. It provides unrivalled coverage of all aspects of English literature - from writers, their works, and the historical and cultural context in which they wrote, to critics, literary theory, and allusions. For the seventh edition, the Companion has been thoroughly revised and updated to meet the needs and concerns of today's students and general readers. Over 1,000 new entries have been added, ranging from new writers - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Patrick Marber, David Mitchell, Arundhati Roy - to increased coverage of writers and literary movements from around the world. Coverage of American literature has been substantially increased, with new entries on writers such as Cormac McCarthy and Amy Tan and on movements and publications. Contextual and historical coverage has also been expanded, with new entries on European history and culture, post-colonial literature, as well as writers and literary movements from around the world that have influenced English literature. The Companion has always been a quick and dependable source of reference for students, and the new edition confirms its pre-eminent role as the go-to resource of first choice. All entries have been reviewed, and details of new works, biographies, and criticism have been brought right up to date. So also has coverage of the themes, approaches and concepts encountered by students today, from terms to articles on literary theory and theorists. There is increased coverage of writers from around the world, as well as from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and of contextual topics, including film and television, music, and art. Cross-referencing has been thoroughly updated, with stronger linking from writers to thematic and conceptual entries. Meanwhile coverage of popular genres such as children's literature, science fiction, biography, reportage, crime fiction, fantasy or travel literature has been increased substantially, with new entries on writers from Philip Pullman to Anne Frank and from Anais Nin to Douglas Adams. The seventh edition of this classic Companion - now under the editorship of Dinah Birch, assisted by a team of 28 distinguished associate editors, and over 150 contributors - ensures that it retains its status as the most authoritative, informative, and accessible guide to literature available.
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Reading Circles, Novels and Adult Reading Development

Author: Sam Duncan

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1441172335

Category: Education

Page: 240

View: 7724

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Adult literacy teachers are constantly searching for effective, engaging and distinctly 'adult' ways to develop adult emergent reading and, for at least the past two hundred years, adults have formed themselves into reading circles to read and discuss novels on a weekly or monthly basis. Why then are reading circles rarely used, or studied, in formal adult literacy provision? This book explores adult reading development, novel reading and reading circles in the context of a wider examination of reading pedagogies and practices in the English-speaking world. It discusses reading as both an individual and a communal act and investigates the relationship between literature and literacy development, practice and pedagogy (including a reassessment of the controversial approaches of reading aloud and phonics for adults). Sam Duncan reviews a case study of an adult reading circle in a large London further education college and identifies the wider implications for the teaching and learning of adult emergent reading, for the use and understanding of reading circles and for how we understand the novel reading experience more broadly.
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