A 1996 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, The True Story of the Novel disputes the British claim to the invention of the novel, calling it "one of the most successful literary lies." Margaret Anne Doody claims that the conventional separation of Romance and Novel was 18th-century England's approach to restricting the literary canon from anything "foreign" to their Empire. Not only did this distinction exclude the great novels of the Roman Empire--including Africa, Asia, and Europe--but it forced the novel, and therefore literature as well, into a narrowed definition of necessary "realism" that altered the way we interpret history. In redefining the Novel as a multicultural construct, Doody opens the relationship of literature and history to new connections.
From Library JournalDoody, a novelist and the director of Vanderbilt University's comparative literature program, offers a corrective to those who find the origins of the novel in the 16th or 17th century. Challenging the distinction between novel and romance, Doody examines in depth ancient Greek and Roman prose narrative, tracing the novel's transformations through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and 18th century. She shows the continuity between the ancient novel and the modern, as well as the striking affinities between the Western novel and those of Africa, China, and Japan. Her treatment is thorough and sophisticated yet accessible to the general reader. It is also ambitious and one of the few works that can truly claim to look at world literature.?Thomas L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.