The Cambridge companion to the eighteenth-century novel /

Additional authors: Richetti, John J.
Series: Cambridge companions to literature Published by : Cambridge University Press, (Cambridge :) Physical details: xiii,283p. ; 24cm. ISBN:9780521429450. Year: 1996
Item type Current location Call number Copy number Status Date due
Books Books British Council Library
823.509 (Browse shelf) 1 Available

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In the past twenty years our understanding of the novel's emergence in eighteenth-century Britain has drastically changed. Drawing on new research in social and political history, the twelve contributors to this Companion challenge and refine the traditional view of the novel's origins and purposes. In various ways each seeks to show that the novel is not defined primarily by its realism of representation, but by the new ideological and cultural functions it serves in the emerging modern world of print culture. Sentimental and Gothic fiction and fiction by women are discussed, alongside detailed readings of work by Defoe, Swift, Richardson, Henry Fielding, Sterne, Smollett, and Burney. This multifaceted picture of the novel in its formative decades provides a comprehensive and indispensable guide for students of the eighteenth-century British novel, and its place within the culture of its time.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • 1 Introduction John Richetti
  • 2 The novel and social/cultural history
  • 3 Defoe as an innovator of fictional form Max Novak
  • 4 Gulliver's Travels and the contracts of fiction Michael Seidel
  • 5 Samuel Richardson: fiction and knowledge Margaret Anne Doody
  • 6 Henry Fielding Claude
  • 7 Sterne and irregular rhetoric
  • 8 Smollett's Humphry Clinker Michael Rosenblum
  • 9 The romance in Frances Burney's novels
  • 10 Women writers and the eighteenth-century novel
  • 11 Sentimental novels
  • 12 Enlightenment, popular culture and Gothic fiction

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Once considered a loaf of good brown bread rising with the yeast of literacy to become the main staple of middle-class reading, the 18th-century novel is now more often viewed as the evolving record of cultural change taking place all across the social spectrum, as a creative enterprise assimilating forms of writing as various as journalism and sermonizing, and as an experimental narrative precursor of the more uniform product of the century to follow. Richetti (Univ. of Pennsylvania) commissioned essays from several eminent senior scholars especially persuasive in describing the new scene of writing opened by the novel, among them Margaret Anne Doody on the gendered consciousness sponsored by Richardson, Max Novak on the vivid formal realism of Defoe, and Claude Rawson on the stylized parody of Fielding. Richetti himself offers a graceful and valuable introduction. There are expert supplementary studies on the contemporary subgenres of the gothic novel and the novel of sensibility, and a deft reading of Swift's antinovel Gulliver's Travels. In addition, a highly informative essay by J. Paul Hunter, "The Novel and Social/Cultural History," charts the explanatory potential of several different historicist approaches to the burgeoning field of early British fiction sketched out during the last decade or so. All in all, this is an indispensable guide and highly recommended. T. Erwin University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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