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The Eighteenth -century novel

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The Eighteenth -century novel

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 10 2011, 21:42

We can’t mention the beginning of the novel without mentioning Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), he uses news (reports of the castaway Alexander Selkirk), the Puritan spiritual autobiography, the religious allegory, and the travelogue into a tale .Even if it isn’t a novel it is considered as a representative early novel.
Samuel Richardson's Pamela (1740) often is seen as the first novel. In it, he claimed he would "instruct" and "entertain"; it became one of the first "bestsellers". It is the story of maid, who, through chastity, wins the heart of her master and becomes his wife. Richardson's contemporary readers were treated to what they identified as a new level of literary "realism" in Pamela ; Ian Watt argues that this novel inaugurated the psychological novel genre, because it focused on the psyche of one character, though many argue that this distinction should be awarded to William Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1795). Richardson achieved this feat through “epistolarity ,” i.e. the novel is a series of Pamela's letters to her parents. This style became popular after Pamela, and writers such as Frances Burney adopted it .
In 1749, Henry Fielding published Tom Jones his major, novelistic response to Pamela, criticizing what he saw as "vulgar" or "low" language in Pamela, and its leveling theme. The hero of Tom Jones, a seeming orphan, begins as a rake, reforms, and discovers he is an aristocrat, thus gaining his fortune. Fielding saw himself as reinstating the proper social hierarchy that Richardson challenged. He also was trying to lay the foundations for the new genre, denouncing Richardson’s popular style, and describing his own novel as a “comic epic in prose,”.

Then came Tobias Smollett , in his novel Humphry Clinker where men became the monster Lismahago .Lismahago , in fact , is dehumanized he is represented as an insect , the characters in smollett have been deprived of their humanity , he stressed the unnaturalness .
Laurence Sterne had good philosophical and psychological bases for his view of the mind’s working , his characters express ways of behavior that are permanent from generation to generation .
During that time, the genre of the novel became fixed , i.e. readers knew what to expect. Typically, the novel was the story of the education, from earlier in the century, such as the scandal novels of Eliza Haywood, fell by the wayside.
At mid-century, these two novels, and others, spawned the novel of sensibility. In it, the protagonist, most often a young woman, naively encounters the world and learns to refine her natural goodness. Sensibility was a character trait important in the mid- to late-eighteenth century. A person with sensibility was attuned with nature and was easily, and rightly, affected by the feelings of others; the "sensible" person noticed the hurt of others and was an indicator of social morality. An excellent example of this type of novel is Frances Burney's Evelina (1778), wherein the heroine, while naturally good, in part for being country-raised, hones her politeness when visiting London—she is educated into propriety. This novel also is the beginning of "romantic comedy".
At the end of the eighteenth century, sensibility's value was questioned, as it made its bearers, particularly women, too exasperate and too prone to imagining worlds beyond their appointed ones. These anxieties are in the rise of the Gothic novel, at century's end. The Gothic novel's story occurs in a distant time and place, often Renaissance Italy, and involved the fantastic exploits of an imperiled heroine. The classic Gothic novel is Radcliff’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). As in other Gothic novels, the notion of the sublime is central. Eighteenth-century aesthetic theory held that the sublime and the beautiful were juxtaposed. The sublime was awful (awe-inspiring) and terrifying while the beautiful was calm and comforting . The characters and landscapes of the Gothic rest almost entirely within the sublime, with the heroine the great exception.

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