Crisis-Consciousness and the Novel

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9780874134452: Crisis-Consciousness and the Novel
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This book examines the emergence of modern consciousness as consciousness develops historically in one cultural form: prose fiction narrative. The book represents a critical history of crisis, arguably the most characterizing single word in the modern world and a major figuration or trope. Eugene Hollahan has studied the history of this important word within the development of the English-language novel, from Samuel Richardson to Saul Bellow. After establishing a heuristic model for such a critical history, Hollahan tracks the word (characterized by George Eliot in Felix Holt, the Radical as a "great noun") through two-and-a-half centuries of narratives by major novelists, with contextualizing excursions into discourses in related fields such as autobiography, philosophy, theology, and social science.
Hollahan contextualizes his study of English-language narrative fiction by examining the writings of crisis-rhetoricians in the eighteenth century (Thomas Paine), nineteenth century (Thomas Carlyle, J. S. Mill, and J. H. Newman), and twentieth century (Karl Barth, Edmund Husserl, T. S. Kuhn, and Richard M. Nixon). Such varied and powerful crisis-rhetorics establish a matrix of language and ideas for the crisis-centered novels Hollahan surveys. These novels include major works by Samuel Richardson, Walter Scott, Jane Austen, George Eliot, George Meredith, George Gissing, George Moore, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster, James Joyce, Lawrence Durrell, Robert Coover, and Saul Bellow.
Hollahan's description of the crisis-trope interfaces with various critical issues such as canonical inclusion, reader response, and deconstruction. On the whole, his book acknowledges current critical issues but endeavors to remain basically a critical history. It attempts to demonstrate that the crisis-riddled modern world and the crisis-conscious novel are analogous and coeval.
Crisis begins as Aristotle's term for logical plot structuring, becomes Longinus's term for emotional exacerbation, and eventually enters into a variety of critical and narrative formulations: Matthew Arnold's cultural centrality, Henry James's existential aestheticism, Lawrence's self-defining sexuality, Marshall Brown's revolutionary turning point, Paul de Man's error-ridden criticism, Floyd Merrell's cut into the primordial flux, Durrell's reborn self, and Bellow's analysis of hysterical escapism. Broadly speaking, Hollahan argues that any crisis-trope will enable or even necessitate a unique confluence of writerly and readerly skills.
In Louis Lambert, Balzac urged: "What a wonderful book one would write by narrating the life and adventures of a word." The story Hollahan narrates fulfills Balzac's expectations as it depicts writer after writer working out influential representations of human life in terms of crisis-consciousness centering upon George Eliot's "great noun" crisis. Historically, Hollahan demonstrates, such consciousness comes to define modern humanity.

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Eugene Hollahan
Published by Univ of Delaware Pr (1992)
ISBN 10: 0874134455 ISBN 13: 9780874134452
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Book Description Univ of Delaware Pr, 1992. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0874134455

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