The Novel

The Novel

A Biography

Book - 2014
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Harvard University Press

The 700-year history of the novel in English defies straightforward telling. Geographically and culturally boundless, with contributions from Great Britain, Ireland, America, Canada, Australia, India, the Caribbean, and Southern Africa; influenced by great novelists working in other languages; and encompassing a range of genres, the story of the novel in English unfolds like a richly varied landscape that invites exploration rather than a linear journey. InThe Novel: A Biography, Michael Schmidt does full justice to its complexity.

Like his hero Ford Madox Ford in The March of Literature, Schmidt chooses as his traveling companions not critics or theorists but "artist practitioners," men and women who feel "hot love" for the books they admire, and fulminate against those they dislike. It is their insights Schmidt cares about. Quoting from the letters, diaries, reviews, and essays of novelists and drawing on their biographies, Schmidt invites us into the creative dialogues between authors and between books, and suggests how these dialogues have shaped the development of the novel in English.

Schmidt believes there is something fundamentally subversive about art: he portrays the novel as a liberalizing force and a revolutionary stimulus. But whatever purpose the novel serves in a given era, a work endures not because of its subject, themes, political stance, or social aims but because of its language, its sheer invention, and its resistance to cliché--some irreducible quality that keeps readers coming back to its pages.


The 700-year history of the novel in English defies straightforward telling. Encompassing a range of genres, it is geographically and culturally boundless and influenced by great novelists working in other languages. Michael Schmidt, choosing as his travel companions not critics or theorists but other novelists, does full justice to its complexity.

Baker & Taylor
Quoting from the biographies, letters, diaries, reviews, and essays of novelists, provides a history of the novel in English, looking at how creative dialogues between authors and between books have influenced the medium's development.

Book News
Anyone who reads or writes--a broad audience indeed--will find their understanding of literature enhanced and enriched by making even short dives into this "biography," which qualifies as a far-reaching reference. The author offers more than 1,000 pages of clear, thoughtful investigation into what makes a novel and how the greatest ones speak to the world over time. He examines specific novels and novelists in 45 chapters titled thematically. To name just a few--Gothic romance, real worlds, imperfection, prodigality and philistinism, portraits and caricatures of the artist, tone and register, essaying, enchantment and disenchantment. Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Baker
& Taylor

The 700-year history of the novel in English defies straightforward telling. Geographically and culturally diverse, with contributions from Great Britain, Ireland, America, Canada, Australia, India, the Caribbean, and Southern Africa, influenced by greatnovelists working in other languages, and encompassing a range of genres, the story of the novel in English unfolds like a richly varied landscape that invites exploration rather than a linear journey. In The Novel: A Biography, Michael Schmidt quotes from "artist practitioners," from letters, diaries, reviews, and essays of novelists, and draws on their biographies, to invite us into the creative dialogues between authors and between books, and suggest how these dialogues have shaped the development of the novel in English --

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, c2014
ISBN: 9780674724730
Branch Call Number: 809.3 SCH
Characteristics: xi, 1172 p. ;,26 cm.

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ser_library Sep 11, 2014

a book to dip into, and perhaps own

i read the chapters featuring my favourites and learned much about other authors

factual errors in the biog parts make me wonder how many errors i missed, but the comments on the books and authors are still wonderful

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