Catalogue


Novel beginnings : experiments in eighteenth-century English fiction /
Patricia Meyer Spacks.
imprint
New Haven, Conn. : Yale University Press, c2006.
description
ix, 309 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0300110316 (alk. paper), 9780300110319 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New Haven, Conn. : Yale University Press, c2006.
isbn
0300110316 (alk. paper)
9780300110319 (alk. paper)
contents note
The excitement of beginnings -- Novels of adventure -- The novel of development -- Novels of consciousness -- The novel of sentiment -- The novel of manners -- Gothic fiction -- The political novel -- Tristram Shandy and the development of the novel.
catalogue key
5900432
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 293-297) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-12-01:
This reviewer is pleased to see this well-written, accessible survey from a first-class scholar. Spacks (Univ. of Virginia) published the outstanding Privacy: Concealing the Eighteenth-century Self (CH, Nov'03, 41-1429), and she has served as president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her authority and comprehensive knowledge of the field are evident in the pages of this book, which is organized by novel type--novel of development, of consciousness, of sentiment, of manners, etc.--and addresses both standard 18th-century novels (Robinson Crusoe, Tom Jones, Clarissa) and less familiar work (Jane Barker's Love Intrigues, Sarah Fielding's The Cry). Spacks provides a general discussion of each novel type and illustrates it with analysis of several typical works. She acknowledges sociological studies like Ian Watt's Rise of the Novel (1957) but approaches the novel in terms of its literary development. She concludes with discussion of Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy as a work that both summarizes and subverts the new conventions of the genre. Spacks's book will edify the literary specialist and the generalist alike. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All readers; all levels. H. Benoist Our Lady of the Lake University of San Antonio
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2006
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Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
In this study intended for general readers, eminent critic Patricia Meyer Spacks provides a fresh, engaging account of the early history of the English novel. Novel Beginnings departs from the traditional, narrow focus on the development of the realistic novel to emphasize the many kinds of experimentation that marked the genre in the eighteenth century before its conventions were firmly established in the nineteenth. Treating well-known works like Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy in conjunction with less familiar texts such as Sarah Fielding's The Cry (a kind of hybrid novel and play) and Jane Barker's A Patch-Work Screen for the Ladies (a novel of adventure replete with sentimental verse and numerous subnarratives), the book evokes the excitement of a multifaceted and unpredictable process of growth and change. Investigating fiction throughout the 1700s, Spacks delineates the individuality of specific texts while suggesting connections among novels. She sketches a wide range of forms and themes, including Providential narratives, psychological thrillers, romans a clef, sentimental parables, political allegories, Gothic romances, and many others. These multiple narrative experiments show the impossibility of thinking of eighteenth-century fiction simply as a precursor to the nineteenth-century novel, Spacks shows. Instead, the vast variety of engagements with the problems of creating fiction demonstrates that literary history--by no means inexorable--might have taken quite a different course.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This account of 18th century fiction emphasises the many kinds of experimentation that were taking place in the genre before the conventions of the novel were firmly established. The author sketches a wide range of forms and shows that literary history might have taken a different path.
Long Description
In this study intended for general readers, eminent critic Patricia Meyer Spacks provides a fresh, engaging account of the early history of the English novel. "Novel Beginnings" departs from the traditional, narrow focus on the development of the realistic novel to emphasize the many kinds of experimentation that marked the genre in the eighteenth century before its conventions were firmly established in the nineteenth. Treating well-known works like "Tom Jones" and "Tristram Shandy" in conjunction with less familiar texts such as Sarah Fielding's "The Cry" (a kind of hybrid novel and play) and Jane Barker's "A Patch-Work Screen for the Ladies" (a novel of adventure replete with sentimental verse and numerous subnarratives), the book evokes the excitement of a multifaceted and unpredictable process of growth and change. Investigating fiction throughout the 1700s, Spacks delineates the individuality of specific texts while suggesting connections among novels. She sketches a wide range of forms and themes, including Providential narratives, psychological thrillers, romans a clef, sentimental parables, political allegories, Gothic romances, and many others. These multiple narrative experiments show the impossibility of thinking of eighteenth-century fiction simply as a precursor to the nineteenth-century novel, Spacks shows. Instead, the vast variety of engagements with the problems of creating fiction demonstrates that literary history--by no means inexorable--might have taken quite a different course.
Main Description
In this study intended for general readers, eminent critic Patricia Meyer Spacks provides a fresh, engaging account of the early history of the English novel. Novel Beginningsdeparts from the traditional, narrow focus on the development of the realistic novel to emphasize the many kinds of experimentation that marked the genre in the eighteenth century before its conventions were firmly established in the nineteenth. Treating well-known works like Tom Jonesand Tristram Shandyin conjunction with less familiar texts such as Sarah Fielding's The Cry(a kind of hybrid novel and play) and Jane Barker's A Patch-Work Screen for the Ladies(a novel of adventure replete with sentimental verse and numerous subnarratives), the book evokes the excitement of a multifaceted and unpredictable process of growth and change. Investigating fiction throughout the 1700s, Spacks delineates the individuality of specific texts while suggesting connections among novels. She sketches a wide range of forms and themes, including Providential narratives, psychological thrillers, romans a clef, sentimental parables, political allegories, Gothic romances, and many others. These multiple narrative experiments show the impossibility of thinking of eighteenth-century fiction simply as a precursor to the nineteenth-century novel, Spacks shows. Instead, the vast variety of engagements with the problems of creating fiction demonstrates that literary history--by no means inexorable--might have taken quite a different course.
Table of Contents
The excitement of beginningsp. 1
Novels of adventurep. 28
The novel of developmentp. 59
Novels of consciousnessp. 92
The novel of sentimentp. 127
The novel of mannersp. 160
Gothic fictionp. 191
The political novelp. 222
Tristram Shandy and the development of the novelp. 254
Afterword : what came nextp. 277
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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