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The Novel: A Biography

The Novel: A Biography

Hardback The Belknap Press

By (author) Michael Schmidt

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  • Publisher: The Belknap Press
  • Format: Hardback | 1180 pages
  • Dimensions: 170mm x 260mm x 64mm | 1,820g
  • Publication date: 1 June 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass.
  • ISBN 10: 0674724739
  • ISBN 13: 9780674724730
  • Sales rank: 31,096

Product description

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. In The 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 cliche--some irreducible quality that keeps readers coming back to its pages."

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Review quote

"The Novel "is one of the most important works of both literary history and criticism to be published in the last decade The reason Schmidt s book is so effective and important has to do with its approach, its scope, and its artistry, which all come together to produce a book of such varied usefulness, such compact wisdom, that it ll take a lot more than a few reviews to fully understand its brilliant contribution to literary study Here, collected in one place, we have the largest repository of the greatest novelists opinions and views on other novelists. It would take the rest of us going through countless letters and essays and interviews with all these writers to achieve such a feat. Schmidt has done us all a great, great favor Maybe the most complete history of the novel in English ever produced [A] multitudinous achievement Schmidt [is] an uncannily astute critic Schmidt s masterpiece Schmidt s writing is a triumph of critical acumen and aesthetic elegance [The Novel"] is a monumental achievement, in its historical importance "and "its stylistic beauty It is, itself, a work of art, just as vital and remarkable as the many works it chronicles.--Jonathan Russell Clark"The Millions" (09/29/2014)"