Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of Theory of the Novel

Theory of the Novel

A Historical Approach

edited by Michael McKeon

Publication Date
Binding Type

A major collection of essays on the novel.

Michael McKeon, author of The Origins of the English Novel, 1600-1740, here assembles a collection of influential essays on the theory of the novel. Carefully chosen selections from Frye, Benjamin, Lévi-Strauss, Lukács, Bakhtin, and other prominent theorists explore the historical significance of the novel as a genre, from its early beginnings to its modern variations in the postmodern novel and postcolonial novel.

Offering a generous selection of key theoretical texts for students and scholars alike, Theory of the Novel also presents a provocative...

A major collection of essays on the novel.

Michael McKeon, author of The Origins of the English Novel, 1600-1740, here assembles a collection of influential essays on the theory of the novel. Carefully chosen selections from Frye, Benjamin, Lévi-Strauss, Lukács, Bakhtin, and other prominent theorists explore the historical significance of the novel as a genre, from its early beginnings to its modern variations in the postmodern novel and postcolonial novel.

Offering a generous selection of key theoretical texts for students and scholars alike, Theory of the Novel also presents a provocative argument for studying the genre. In his introduction to the volume and in headnotes to each section, McKeon argues that genre theory and history provide the best approach to understanding the novel. All the selections in this anthology date from the twentieth century—most from the last forty years—and represent the attempts of different theorists, and different theoretical schools, to describe the historical stages of the genre's formal development.

Reviews

Reviews

McKeon's dissections are often breathtaking... [his] anthology is solid, commandingly centered,... superbly energetic and uniquely powerful.

The anthology provides not only a splendid guide to thinking about the novel, but also a useful warning against assuming that fiction is merely the instrument of those who wish to dampen revolution, forge national identities, and build empires.

This breathtaking comprehensive collection of essays... is an amazingly ambitious project... McKeon has provided us with an invaluable map of the theoretical and literary-historical landscape surrounding the origins, theories, and developments of the novel.

This is a richly stimulating volume, an invaluable resource and challenging intervention for all serious researchers into the novel.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6.5
x
10
Pages
968
ISBN
9780801863974
Illustration Description
2 line drawings
Table of Contents

Part I: Genre Theory
E. D. Hirsch, from Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays
Claudio Guillén, from Validity in Interpretation
Claudio Guillén, from Literature as System: Essays toward the Theory of Literary

Part I: Genre Theory
E. D. Hirsch, from Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays
Claudio Guillén, from Validity in Interpretation
Claudio Guillén, from Literature as System: Essays toward the Theory of Literary History
Jonathan Culler, "Toward a Theory of Non-Genre Literature"
Marthe Robert, from Origins of the Novel
Part II: The Novel as Displacement I: Structuralism
Walter Benjamin, "The Storyteller"
Claude Lévi-Strauss, from The Savage Mind, from The Origin of Table Manners, "How Myths Die," from The Naked Man
Northrop Frye, from Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays, from Fables of Identity: Studies in Poetic Mythology, from The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance
Part III: The Novel as Displacement II: Psychoanalysis
Sigmund Freud, from
The Interpretation of Dreams, "Family Romances"
Marthe Robert, from Origins of the Novel
Part IV: Grand Theory I
Georg Lukács, from The Theory of the Novel: A Historico-Philosophical Essay on the Forms of Great Epic Literature, from The Historical Novel
Part V: Grand Theory II
José Ortega y Gasset, from Meditations on Quixote, "Notes on the Novel"
Part VI: Grand Theory III
Mikhail M. Bakhtin, from The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays
Part VII: Revisionist Grand Theory
Ian Watt, from The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding
Michael McKeon, "Generic Transformation and Social Change: Rethinking the Rise of the Novel"
Fredric Jameson, from The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism
Part VIII: Privacy, Domesticity, Women
Ian Watt, from The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding
Nancy Armstrong, from Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel
Gillian Brown, from Domestic Individualism: Imagining Self in Nineteenth-Century America
Part IX: Subjectivity, Character, Development
Dorrit Cohn, from Transparent Minds: Narrative Modes for Presenting Consciousness in Fiction
Ann Banfield, from Unspeakable Sentences: Narration and Representation in the Language of Fiction
Amélie Oksenberg Rorty, "Characters, Persons, Selves, Individuals"
Franco Moretti, from The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture
Clifford Siskin, from The Historicity of Romantic Discourse
Part X: Realism
Rosalind Coward and John Ellis, from Language and Materialism: Developments in Semiology and the Theory of the Subject
Michael McKeon, from "Prose Fiction: Great Britain"
George Levine, from The Realistic Imagination: English Fiction from Frankenstein to Lady Chatterley
Michael Davitt Bell, from The Development of American Romance
Part XI: Photography, Film, and the Novel
Henry James, from "Preface to The Golden Bowl"
Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"
Keith Cohen, Film and Fiction: The Dynamics of Exchange
André Bazin, "In Defense of Mixed Cinema"
Part XII: Modernism
Virginia Woolf, "Modern Fiction," "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown"
Georg Lukács, from Realism in Our Time: Literature and the Class Struggle
Joseph Frank, from Spatial Form in Modern Literature
Part XIII: The New Novel, the Postmodern Novel
Alain Robbe-Grillet, from For a New Novel: Essays on Fiction
Linda Hutcheon, "Historiographic Metafiction"
Part XIV: The Colonial and Postcolonial Novel
Doris Sommer and George Yudice, "Latin American Literature from the 'Boom' On"
Kwame Anthony Appiah, "Is the Post- in Postmodernism the Post- in Postcolonial?"
Kumkum Sangari, "The Politics of the Possible"

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Michael McKeon

Michael McKeon is Board of Governors Professor of Literature at Rutgers University, the author of Politics and Poetry in Restoration England and The Origins of the English Novel, and the editor of Theory of the Novel.