Catalogue


Character & consciousness in eighteenth-century comic fiction /
Elizabeth Kraft.
imprint
Athens : University of Georgia Press, c1992.
description
xv, 202 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0820313653 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Athens : University of Georgia Press, c1992.
isbn
0820313653 (alk. paper)
general note
Spine title: Character and consciousness in eighteenth-century comic fiction.
catalogue key
2419948
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [183]-196) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-06:
Kraft (University of Georgia) has written one of the most intelligent recent analyses of the 18th-century comic novel. One sign of its intelligence is in this age of aggressive theorizing its lack of belligerence. Kraft is a thoughtful writer who considers a wide range of theoretical bases (from Frye and Booth to Bakhtin and Derrida) in her study of character. She contends cogently that although such comic novelists as Sterne and Fielding do not immerse us in the psychological depths of their characters, they ARE concerned with the nature of consciousness. These novelists approach consciousness externally, through what the characters read, whom they know, what they do, and the like. Sterne, perhaps, does this more systematically than most. This is thorough, insightful criticism at its best. Recommended for upper-division and graduate students. Faculty too.-P. D. McGlynn, Eastern Michigan University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 1992
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Summaries
Main Description
The eighteenth-century novel developed amid an emerging emphasis on individualism that clashed with long-cherished beliefs in hierarchy and stability. Though the comic novelists, unlike Defoe and Richardson, avoided total involvement in the mind of any one character, they were nonetheless fundamentally concerned with the nature of consciousness. In Character and Consciousness in Eighteenth-Century Comic Fiction , Elizabeth Kraft examines the kind of consciousness central to comic novels of the period. It is, she asserts, individual identity conceived in social terms--a character's search for his or her place in a precarious secular order. Understanding this concept of character is vitally important to a full appreciation of eighteenth-century comic fiction. To respond validly to these fictional characters, Kraft claims, the twentieth-century reader must recapture, or recreate, the eighteenth-century self. In readings of five novels--Henry Fielding's Tom Jones , Charlotte Lennox's Female Quixote , Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy , Tobias Smollett's Peregrine Pickle , and Fanny Burney's Cecilia --Kraft explores the relationships among consciousness, character, and comic narrative. Fielding, Lennox, and Sterne, she argues, question the validity of narratives of consciousness. Each seeks to define the limitations as well as the virtues of the form in representing the individual and communal lives. Smollett and Burney, on the other hand, address a readership that expects the novel to offer meaningful renderings of person experience. These novelists accept the validity of the narrative of consciousness but place this narrative within the context of the larger community. As a thorough analysis of relations between narrative and the construction of character and consciousness, Kraft's study is an important addition to our understanding of the theoretical formulations of eighteenth-century fiction.
Main Description
The eighteenth-century novel developed amid an emerging emphasis on individualism that clashed with long-cherished beliefs in hierarchy and stability. Though the comic novelists, unlike Defoe and Richardson, avoided total involvement in the mind of any one character, they were nonetheless fundamentally concerned with the nature of consciousness.InCharacter and Consciousness in Eighteenth-Century Comic Fiction, Elizabeth Kraft examines the kind of consciousness central to comic novels of the period. It is, she asserts, individual identity conceived in social terms--a character's search for his or her place in a precarious secular order. Understanding this concept of character is vitally important to a full appreciation of eighteenth-century comic fiction. To respond validly to these fictional characters, Kraft claims, the twentieth-century reader must recapture, or recreate, the eighteenth-century self.In readings of five novels--Henry Fielding'sTom Jones, Charlotte Lennox'sFemale Quixote, Laurence Sterne'sTristram Shandy, Tobias Smollett'sPeregrine Pickle, and Fanny Burney'sCecilia--Kraft explores the relationships among consciousness, character, and comic narrative. Fielding, Lennox, and Sterne, she argues, question the validity of narratives of consciousness. Each seeks to define the limitations as well as the virtues of the form in representing the individual and communal lives. Smollett and Burney, on the other hand, address a readership that expects the novel to offer meaningful renderings of person experience. These novelists accept the validity of the narrative of consciousness but place this narrative within the context of the larger community.As a thorough analysis of relations between narrative and the construction of character and consciousness, Kraft's study is an important addition to our understanding of the theoretical formulations of eighteenth-century fiction.

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