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The Realist Novel (Approaching Literature) Hardcover – 7 Mar 1996


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (7 Mar. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415135710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415135719
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,876,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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First Sentence
Approaching literature through study of its genres has been fundamental to literary criticism in the European languages since Aristotle's Poetics in the fourth century BC. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Chamberlain on 6 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
I have been studying this book as part of the Open University course A210, Approaching Literature.

The book is in two parts.

Part one is seven chapters of analysis of Pride & Prejudice, Frankenstein, Great Expectations and Fathers & Sons. It's also an analysis of the period in which they were written, and the genre of realist novels.

Part two is nine extracts from books or essays of analysis from nine different people, including Arnold Kettle, Ian Watt, George Levine and Roland Barthes. Their subjects are closer inspection of reality or realism in novels, romance, imperialism and Jane Austen.

It's a complicated book that's difficult to study, because it's simply not clear what it's arguing. Although it is normal for OU books to be written by several different writers with different opinions, the analysis of the writers of part one is overlapping, contradictory and unfocussed. There are so many different references to Jane Austen within the analysis, of all chapters, that to find the significant quote you are looking for, you need to reread an unwieldy amount of text of either your notes or the course book. The second part of the book is better written as it's sourced from specific texts with specific meanings, and though these are still complicated, they have the benefit of being focussed.

I wouldn't recommend this book for anyone not studying Approaching Literature with the OU. Try Rhetoric of Fiction or for feminist lit crit,
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By I eat less!! on 14 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
I had to study this book as part of the A210 course with the OU. It was difficult to read and boring and I ended up using texts outwith the course to learn the key concepts required.
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5 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Becky on 28 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book with its black and white text on endless pages; the absence of many pictures; the intense scrutiny of the subject matter may be good as a book on the subject but hardly conducive to studying. It should be revised.
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Amazon.com: 1 review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
"emphasis is upon practice, not theory" 30 July 2000
By Cheryl Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book was written as one of four course texts for the Open University module, "Approaching Literature" but can be read on its own for leisure or independent study. Its subject is the rise and evolution of the genre known as the 'realist novel'.
In Part One, after introducing the genre and the historical background in which it arose as a dominant and popular form of literature, the book closely examines, in turn, the following works: "Pride and Prejudice", "Frankenstein", "Great Expectations", and "Fathers and Sons". There are also chapters addressing the theme of 'the Novel and Society' and examining the question, 'Can realist novels survive?'
Part Two includes theoretical essays and commentaries on the genre by literary critics such as Arnold Kettle, Marilyn Butler and Roland Barthes. Each of these critical commentaries were carefully chosen for their relevancy to the four novels being studied and for their accessablity to the non-scholar.
As it explains in the Preface of The Realist Novel, "the emphasis throughout is upon practice, not theory." This is good news to the university student - or anyone, for that matter - who is overwhelmed with the idea of reading tons of abstract essays on 'theory' (Structuralism, Modernism, Post-modernism, etc.) which are of little help when trying to apply the ideas to specific texts. The Realist Novel gently introduces the reader into critical analysis and theory by walking step-by-step through the issues surrounding each of the four novels. The language in this text is very accessable and does not assume the student is on a scholarly reading level. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in studying the genre of the realist novel from a critical perspective, without being bombarded with an overload of academic theory.
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