Aspects of the Novel (Twentieth Century Classics) Paperback – 29 Mar 1990
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From the Back Cover
The wit and lively, informed originality Forster employs in his study of the novel has made this book a classic. Deliberately avoiding the chronological development approach of what he classifies 'pseudosholarship, ' the author freely examines aspects all English-language novels have in common. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Edward Morgan Forster (E. M. Forster) was an English novelist, short-story writer and essayist. Born in 1879, Forster is known for his examination of how class difference and hypocrisy in British society during the beginning of the twentieth century influenced personal connections. These themes are best represented in his novels A Room with a View, A Passage to India, and Howard s End. Forster died of a stroke in 1970 at the age of 91. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of the key concepts are ones he was (I think) the first to articulate. He formulates the distinction between the `story' (the sequence of events, where we ask `what will happen next?') and the `plot' (the events linked by causality, where we ask `why?'). He disputes with Aristotle (emotion isn't only in action, but in our internal secret lives, to which the novelist has access). He demonstrates the difference between flat characters (unchanging and `constructed round a single idea' like Mrs Macawber's loyalty to her husband) and round ones (`capable of surprising in a convincing way'). He looks at how characters are different from real people (they spend most time loving and desiring rather than eating and sleeping!). How points of view (omniscient, free indirect) can be mixed and matched. How novelists persuade us to accept the fantastic (whether in terms of coincidences or angels). How patterns work (the structuring of the plot and of symbols). And what the future of the novel might be (when individuals, through social and personal change, start to look at themselves in a new way, novels, he claims, will find new ways of representing things).
The style is witty and full of nice lines. `[The pseudo-scholar] loves mentioning genius, because the sound of the word exempts him from discovering its meaning.' `Speculations... always have a large air about them, they are a convenient way of being helpful or impressive.Read more ›
Forster makes no apologies for his narrow outlook. Although 'English poetry fears no one', Forster feels the English novel trails behind that of its continental peers, especially the great Russians, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. But such a reductive base can still support the scaffolding of Forster's ahistorical theories, and thus he goes on to unravel the timeless ideas of story, plot, people, fantasy, prophecy, point of view, rhythm and pattern. The distinction between flat and round characters may seem simple, but it is valid still, as the contemporary novel continues to be hobbled by problems of characterisation. Is this an insolvable problem, the predominance of depthless characters in modern fiction?
Critically, though, there are flaws, and Forster's narrowness is one. Forster refuses to explore the Modernist titans of the 1920s in any great depth, and so the majority of his examples predate this revolutionary movement. James Joyce's Ulysses gains only a passing and begrudging respect, while Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence and H.G. Wells are barely mentioned.Read more ›
A quarter of a century after the novel was recognised as literature (before Henry James' "The Art of Fiction" only poetry and drama deserved the name) and in the peak period of the modernism (this book was written exactly between the publications of "Ulysses" and "Finnegans Wake") Forster presented his personal view of fiction in a quiet and unassuming but clear and rational way. The resulting book is fairly unrevolutionary for the period of turmoil and change but it has stood the test of time at least as well as the modern experiments.
"Aspects of the Novel" is one of the books which keep the readers repeating to themselves: "But I know this!" Yes, you do. But it was E. M. Forster who said it first.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the bible for any aspiring novelist. A must-read. If you want to write, then you must read this seminal work by Forster.Published 6 months ago by Mr. John D'Arcy
One for the shelves that helps us to understand the novel in greater detail. As it deals mainly with older works, it is a bit dated, but great for academic study.Published 8 months ago by Ms Cyprah
So unassuming that Woolf called him The Mole, Forster restores the good name of belles lettres in this deceptively intelligent, determinedly unbuttoned critical exercise. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Mr. G. Morgan
Great, book needed for uni studies, good for those who are interested in writing as I needed this for my creative writing part of my English Degree.Published on 27 Mar. 2013 by Sharfa Sorwar
Perfect item, thououghly matching description. No delays in arriving date. Absolutely nothing to complain about. Satisfied both of article and of service.Published on 13 Feb. 2013 by Gilda Sancarlo