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The genre making of Restoration fiction

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.

1 The novel and its critics Criticism of the novel begins at whatever date one picks as the birth of the novel. Published during the Restoration period around which the present study circles, Pierre-Daniel Huët’s Traité de l’origine des romans (1670) suggests itself as an inaugural text, whose importance is underlined by the fact that it quickly found its way into other European languages, seeing an English translation in 1672 and a German version in 1682. Huët set out ‘to ennoble the genre with an impeccable pedigree of Greco-Roman precedents and to diffuse

in Novel horizons

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.

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1 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

in The quiet contemporary American novel

4 The quiet novel of cognition In 2002, the literary journal Poetics Today published a special issue to mark what the editors called a ‘new phase’ in literary theory.1 In their introduction to the volume, the editors argued that cognitive science had emerged as a major influence on contemporary criticism, ‘demystifying traditional humanist and religious concepts of supposedly timeless categories, such as self, identity, and morality.’2 Indeed, at the turn of the twenty-first century science experienced what was phrased as a ‘turn’ to subjectivity with many

in The quiet contemporary American novel

5 The novel of ‘(dis)quiet’ In August 2011, two strikingly similar debut novels, Teju Cole’s Open City and Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station, appeared to great acclaim.1 The narrator of Open City is Julius, a Nigerian-German psychiatrist who travels through the boroughs of New York City where he is completing the final year of a fellowship. The narrator of Leaving the Atocha Station is Adam Gordon, a white, middle-class poet born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, educated in New York and living in Madrid on a prestigious arts fellowship. Both protagonists are

in The quiet contemporary American novel

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.

out of existence.’7 This existential feature of speech poses some rather unique problems for early modern narrative. And in particular when looking at the feature of narrating, which has been made out, not surprisingly, as an essential quality of narratives. For Genette, narrating is no less than ‘the generating instance of narrative discourse’,8 and he specifically demands that critics should ‘recognize and respect the autonomy of that instance’.9 He supports this argument by claiming that the 150 The Restoration novel narrating, or voice, of a narrative

in Novel horizons
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generic play of the novel to follow: ‘I would very faine have presented it unto thee pure & naked, without the ornament of a Preface, or the rabblement and Catalogue of the 98 Paratexts: the genesis of genre wonted Sonnets, Epigrams Poems Elegies &c, which are wont to bee put at the beginning of books’ (¶3v). The text jokingly apologises for not offering a treatise filled with quotations and learned marginalia, references to Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, and all the other greats that ‘the old legislator (the Vulgar)’ expect (¶4r), and then goes on to ridicule the common

in Novel horizons