The Life of Daniel Defoe examines the entire range of Defoe’s writing in the context of what is known about his life and opinions. Features extended and detailed commentaries on Defoe’s political, religious, moral, and economic journalism, as well as on all of his narrative fictions, including Robinson Crusoe Places emphasis on Defoe’s distinctive style and rhetoric Situates his work within the precise historical circumstances of the eighteenth-century in which Defoe was an important and active participant Now available in paperback
The English Novel from its Origins to the Present Day
Author: Patrick Parrinder
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Category: Literary Criticism
What is 'English' about the English novel, and how has the idea of the English nation been shaped by the writers of fiction? How do the novel's profound differences from poetry and drama affect its representation of national consciousness? Nation and Novel sets out to answer these questions by tracing English prose fiction from its late medieval origins through its stories of rogues and criminals, family rebellions and suffering heroines, to the present-day novels of immigration. Major novelists from Daniel Defoe to the late twentieth century have drawn on national history and mythology in novels which have pitted Cavalier against Puritan, Tory against Whig, region against nation, and domesticity against empire. The novel is deeply concerned with the fate of the nation, but almost always at variance with official and ruling-class perspectives on English society. Patrick Parrinder's groundbreaking new literary history outlines the English novel's distinctive, sometimes paradoxical, and often subversive view of national character and identity. This sophisticated yet accessible assessment of the relationship between fiction and nation will set the agenda for future research and debate.
The Autoethnographic Work of Nineteenth-Century British Novels
Author: James Buzard
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Category: Literary Criticism
This book gives an ambitious revisionist account of the nineteenth-century British novel and its role in the complex historical process that ultimately gave rise to modern anthropology's concept of culture and its accredited researcher, the Participant Observer. Buzard reads the great nineteenth-century novels of Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and others as "metropolitan autoethnographies" that began to exercise and test the ethnographic imagination decades in advance of formal modern ethnography--and that did so while focusing on Western European rather than on distant Oriental subjects. Disorienting Fiction shows how English Victorian novels appropriated and anglicized an autoethnographic mode of fiction developed early in the nineteenth century by the Irish authors of the National Tale and, most influentially, by Walter Scott. Buzard demonstrates that whereas the fiction of these non-English British subjects devoted itself to describing and defending (but also inventing) the cultural autonomy of peripheral regions, the English novels that followed them worked to imagine limited and mappable versions of English or British culture in reaction against the potential evacuation of cultural distinctiveness threatened by Britain's own commercial and imperial expansion. These latter novels attempted to forestall the self-incurred liabilities of a nation whose unprecedented reach and power tempted it to universalize and export its own customs, to treat them as simply equivalent to a globally applicable civilization. For many Victorian novelists, a nation facing the prospect of being able to go and to exercise its influence just about anywhere in the world also faced the danger of turning itself into a cultural nowhere. The complex autoethnographic work of nineteenth-century British novels was thus a labor to disorient or de-globalize British national imaginings, and novelists mobilized and freighted with new significance some basic elements of prose narrative in their efforts to write British culture into being. Sure to provoke debate, this book offers a commanding reassessment of a major moment in the history of British literature.