Presentation 1 (fiction)

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Presentation 1 (fiction)

  1. 1. Novel An Introduction to the English Novel 1 by Arnold Kettle
  2. 2. • Though we must sea each novel as a part of history and its value as the quality of its contribution to the achievement of man's freedom, yet it is important to remember that it is the book itself we are judging, not its intention, nor the amount of 'social significance' to be got out of it, nor even its importance as a measurable historical influence. • the rise and development of the English novel, like any other phenomenon in literature, can only be understood as a part of history. • History is not just something in a book; history is man's actions. History is life going on, changing, development.
  3. 3. • It is not by chance that the English novel dates from the eighteenth century. This does not mean, of course, that nothing like novel existed before the year 1700 and then someone--Defoe presumably--waved a wand and there was it. Nothing will come of nothing, and even the most original artist starts off from what has gone before. • The eighteenth-century novelists had on one hand the medieval romance and its successors, the courtly novels of Italy and France, and the English stories in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. • The novel is a realistic prose fiction, complete in itself and of a certain length. • The words 'realism' and 'realistic' are used to indicate 'relevant to real life' as opposed to 'romance' which indicates escapism, wishful thinking, unrealism ( its characters are not realistic or human even such as gallant knights and their ladies).
  4. 4. • The novel arose as a realistic reaction to the medieval romance and its courtly descendants of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the great eighteenth-century novels are nearly all anti- romances. • The novel arose with the growth for the first time of a large, widely distributed reading public; with the increase of literacy the demand for reading material naturally rose and the demand was greatest among well-to-do women who were the insatiable novel-readers of the time • Novel grew with the middle-class, a new art-form based not on aristocratic patronage but on commercial publishing, an art-form written by and for the now-powerful commercial bourgeoisie. • We shall not understand the meaning and importance of the English novel unless we understand the meaning and importance of the English revolution of the seventeenth century.
  5. 5. • The impulse towards realism in prose literature was part and parcel of the breakdown of feudalism and of the revolution that transformed the feudal world. [ feudal system was a European system for ranking the society as king, nobles, knights, peasants]. • The commercial bourgeoisie were revolutionaries against the feudal order because the feudal order denied them freedom. It denied them freedom, physically, legally, spiritually, to do what they wanted to do, to develop the way they needs must develop. • In the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, the critical period of revolutionary in literature was in poetry. In the eighteenth century it is in prose. The shift corresponds to the changing needs and spirit of society.
  6. 6. • The eighteenth-century writers created the English novel. Some they worked in the allegorical tradition of the moral fable; sometimes they concentrated on the apparently non- moral approach of the picaresque tradition. The greatest of them -- Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne -- attempted, not always consciously, not always successfully, to bring the two traditions together, to achieve in their books both realism and significance, to equate life and pattern.
  7. 7. • The eighteenth-century writers created the English novel. Some they worked in the allegorical tradition of the moral fable; sometimes they concentrated on the apparently non- moral approach of the picaresque tradition. The greatest of them -- Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne -- attempted, not always consciously, not always successfully, to bring the two traditions together, to achieve in their books both realism and significance, to equate life and pattern.

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