Novel horizons analyses how narrative prose fiction developed during the English Restoration. It argues that following the reopening of the theatres in 1660, generic changes within dramatic texts occasioned an intense debate within prologues and introductions. This discussion about the poetics of a genre was echoed in the paratextual material of prose fictions: in trans¬lators’ introductions, authorial prefaces, and other accompanying material. In the absence of an official poetics that defined prose fiction, paratexts ful¬filled this function and informed readers about the changing features of the budding genre. This study traces the piecemeal development of these generic boundaries and describes the generic competence of readers through the detailed analysis of paratexts and actual narrative prose fictions. Rather than trying to canonize individual Restoration novels, Novel horizons covers the surviving textual material widely, focusing on narrative prose fictions published between 1660 and 1710. Drawing on genre theories by Jacques Derrida and M.M. Bakhtin, the study follows an approach to genre that sees a textual corpus as an archive that projects into the future, thereby enabling later readers and writers to experiment with forms and themes. In addition to tracing the paratextual poetics of Restoration fiction, a substantial section of this book covers the state of the art of fiction-writing during the period. It discusses aspects such as character development, narrative point of view, and questions of fictionality and realism in order to describe how these features were first used in popular fiction at the time.
This book defines quiet as an aesthetic of narrative that is driven by reflective principles and places Marilynne Robinson's work within a vibrant contemporary American trend. It makes two critical interventions. First, it maps the neglected history of quiet fictions and argues that from Hester Prynne to Clarissa Dalloway, from Bartleby to William Stoner, quiet characters fill the novel in the Western tradition. Second, it demonstrates how the novel's quiet undercurrent functions as an aesthetic in contemporary American fiction. The book engages with the problem of 'event' as a noisy narrative device and discusses the opposition of quiet texts to narratives written in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, an event that heralded to many the beginning of a noisy century. It discusses the subjective depictions of temporality portrayed in the fiction of Marilynne Robinson and Paul Harding. The book then argues that cognitive fictions by Richard Powers and Lynne Tillman expand the focus of the quiet novel. By expanding the focus, it uncovers the complex and often discordant recesses of human consciousness and challenges the traditional division between what is internally and externally felt. The book brings together the strands of this monograph to discuss what happens to the quiet novel when Teju Cole and Ben Lerner set their quiet novels in the noisy environment of the city. By paying attention to the quieter aspects of everyday experience, the quiet novel also reveals how quiet can be a multi-faceted state of existence, which is communicative and expressive.
The Painter of Signs is Narayan’s last major novel. The fiction
that he produced in his seventies and eighties is variable in
quality, but generally demonstrates a falling-off in his talents.
Nevertheless it develops interesting variations on several of the
defining themes of his work, particularly the passage into the
fourth stage of the varnasramadharma, the discursive constitution of space, oral mythologies and Hindu reverence for animal
life and the natural world.
The last of these concerns is central to both the theme
and the point of view of
Narayan’s 1950 comment, quoted at the beginning of the
previous chapter, on his inconclusive endings in his ‘Self-Obituary’, continues by providing examples of his supposed crime of
leaving his characters in mid-air. He particularly focuses on the
open endings of his first four novels, grouping them together in
a single paragraph.1 His interrogators from the ‘I.T.F.K.E.O.N’
(‘INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR KEEPING an [sic] EYE
ON NOVELISTS’) tell him:
[…] You have left Swami (of Swami and Friends [sic])
standing on a railway platform watching a
D. H. Lawrence’s essay ‘Why the Novel Matters’,1 focuses on issues of
communication and plurality as displayed by the effective novel.
Christopher Gillie cites this important essay at the beginning of his
book on English literature from 1900 to 1940; he uses it to help create
the relevant context for the modernist revolution.2 The ideas in it echo
those found in Chapter 1 of this book: the fight for communication
that the novel represents; the ability of writing to stretch and extend
human experience; the novelistic provision, in tune with
The gothic novel in Ireland, 1760–1830 offers a compelling account of the development of gothic literature in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Ireland. Against traditional scholarly understandings of Irish gothic fiction as a largely late-nineteenth century development, this study recovers to view a whole body of Irish literary production too often overlooked today. Its robust examination of primary texts, the contexts in which they were produced, and the critical perspectives from which they have been analysed yields a rigorous account of the largely retrospective formal and generic classifications that have worked to eliminate eighteenth-century and Romantic-era Irish fiction from the history of gothic literature. The works assessed here powerfully demonstrate that what we now understand as typical of ‘the gothic novel’– medieval, Catholic Continental settings; supernatural figures and events; an interest in the assertion of British modernity – is not necessarily what eighteenth- and nineteenth-century readers or writers would have identified as ‘gothic’. They moreover point to the manner in which scholarly focus on the national tale and allied genres has effected an erasure of the continued production and influence of gothic literature in Romantic Ireland. Combining quantitative analysis with meticulous qualitative readings of a selection of representative texts, this book sketches a new formal, generic, and ideological map of gothic literary production in this period. As it does so, it persuasively positions Irish works and authors at the centre of a newly understood paradigm of the development of the literary gothic across Ireland, Britain, and Europe between 1760 and 1830.
This book explores the history of postwar England during the end of empire through a reading of novels which appeared at the time. Several genres are discussed, including the family saga, travel writing, detective fiction and popular romances. In the mid 1950s, Montagu Slater's brief essay in Arena is the first of a group of contributions, with the authors' warning of a growing American monopoly in cultural expression. Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Josephine Tey are now the best remembered representatives of the distaff side of Britain's Golden Age of crime fiction which extended well into the early postwar period. The book focuses on the reception of John Masters' novels, the sequence of novels known as the 'Savage family saga'. William Golding's 'human condition' is very much an English condition, diagnosed amid the historical upheavals of the mid-twentieth century. Popular romance novels were read by thousands throughout Britain and across the world, and can be understood as a constituent element in a postwar colonial discourse. William Boyd's fiction displays a marked alertness to the repercussions of fading imperial grandeur; his A Good Man in Africa, explores the comic possibilities of Kinjanja, a fictional country based on Nigeria. Penelope Lively's tangential approach to writing about empire in Moon Tiger suggests ambivalence and uncertainty about how to represent a colonial past which is both recent and firmly entrenched in ideas of national identity.
Middle-period novels: Mr Sampath
to Waiting for the Mahatma
Beginning with Mr Sampath: The Printer of Malgudi (1949)
and culminating with The Painter of Signs (1976), the novels
of Narayan’s middle period represent his finest achievement.
The protagonists of these novels are usually small businessmen
in the second asrama of life, whose occupations are contemporary versions of the scribal and priestly roles traditionally
undertaken by Tamil brahmins. Sampath in Mr Sampath and
Nataraj in The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961) are printers and
printers also figure
The House by the
Church-yard had included less concentrated inquiries of a
kind similar to those conducted in the stories of 1861-2. Whether
for financial reasons alone or otherwise, Le Fanu was obliged to
abandon Irish historical settings in all his subsequent full-length
novels. The last instalment of the Chapelizod saga appeared in the
The quiet novel
Quiet is a dynamic term. Whether constructed as a noun, adjective,
adverb or verb, the word is older and more diverse than quietness or
quietude and miscellaneous enough to remain applicable to many
situations, states and, as this study argues, fictions. The third edition
of the OED notes that the earliest use of ‘quiet’ as a noun appears in
1330, followed by ‘quietness’ in 1425, ‘quietude’ in 1598 and ‘quietism’ in 1687. ‘Loud’ is older and dates back to 800 with fewer listed
meanings; ‘noise’ is only a century older than quiet and defined as