Novel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian Fiction

9781459633582: Novel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian Fiction
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Victorian novels, Garrett Stewart argues, hurtle forward in prose as violent as the brutal human existence they chronicle. In Novel Violence, he explains how such language assaults the norms of written expression and how, in doing so, it counteracts the narratives it simultaneously propels. Immersing himself in the troubling plots of Charles Dickens, Anne Bront , George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy, Stewart uses his brilliant new method of narratography to trace the microplots of language as they unfold syllable by syllable. By pinpointing where these linguistic narratives collide with the stories that give them context, he makes a powerful case for the centrality of verbal conflict to the experience of reading Victorian novels. He also maps his finely wrought argument on the spectrum of influential theories of the novel - including those of Georg Luk cs and Ian Watt - and tests it against Edgar Allan Poe's antinovelistic techniques. In the process, Stewart shifts critical focus toward the grain of narrative and away from more abstract analyses of structure or cultural context, revealing how novels achieve their semantic and psychic effects and unearthing, in prose, something akin to poetry.

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About the Author:

Garrett Stewart is the James O. Freedman Professor of Letters in the Department of English at the University of Iowa and the author of numerous books on fiction and film.


"Like the sentences that Stewart analyses so meticulously, his own writing is at once precisely structured and poetically evocative. . . . His titular violence is new in that it follows from the Romantic disillusionment identified by Georg Lukacs as the necessary state of the novel in its fall from epic fullness. Violence, in other words, is structured to the novel as a form."—Carolyn Lesjak, Times Higher Education Supplement (Carolyn Lesjak THES)

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9780226774589: Novel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian Fiction

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ISBN 10:  0226774589 ISBN 13:  9780226774589
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, 2009

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Garrett Stewart
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