Dickens, Manzoni, Zola and James: The Impossible Romance

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9780826207388: Dickens, Manzoni, Zola and James: The Impossible Romance
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As Christianity was diluted and demythologized, 19th century novelists of moral passion yielded to conventions of history and society in a vain effort to preserve spiritual powers. Dickens, Manzoni, Zola and James in grand refusals of mediation, paradoxically preserved the autonomy of the spirit by summoning it down into the very centre of history. The dynamic attraction of the greatest novels by these four authors originates precisely from an unresolvable tension between the spirit and the world. In a critical atmosphere thoroughly secularized, Newton and Lebowitz argue that it is more urgent than ever to recover the authenticity and richness of a spiritual passion that resists and rejects appropriation by history. They maintain that if the spiritual convictions of these four novelists are read seriously, our sense of literary geneaology will be altered. The authors contend that Dickens, Manzoni, Zola and James assail the conventional realistic novel with a salvational drama that uses its own virtue to combat the virtue of moral mediation. In the same way, the characters of these dramas, who have so long suffered the condescension of anti-sentimentalists, protest their authors' inconsolable disappointment with the constant betrayal of spirit in the world. Viewed in this light, these fictional figures become once again not passive and embarrassing impediments but active and organizing enablers for the novels they inhabit, novels that stage the struggles - for the last time on equal terms - between good and evil, history and hope.

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Newton, Ruth; Lebowitz, Naomi
Published by Univ of Missouri Pr 1990-06-01 (1990)
ISBN 10: 0826207383 ISBN 13: 9780826207388
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Newton, Ruth; Lebowitz, Naomi
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Book Description Univ of Missouri Pr. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0826207383 Brand new, hardback with dust jacket, Dickens, Manzoni, Zola and James: The Impossible Romance. Seller Inventory # SKU1016055

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Ruth Newton, Naomi Lebowitz
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