on 24 February 2003
If you are an english student, chances are at some point you will be doing, or will have done courses on early novels, and therefore this book is a definite 'must read' that should be on any students reading list. In almost every course I've done so far, this book has been on the tutors reading list. If you're not a student, chances are you've probably read a novel at some point :-), and therefore this book is just as relevant to you.
Basically, it does exactly what is says on the tin, Ian Watt charts the, umm, rise of the novel as a literary form in the 18th century, dealing in particular with Daniel Defoe, Ian Richardson and Henry Fielding. He discusses all the underlying social, philosophical and political factors underlying the age that produced these authors.
Perhaps a bit 'academic' in places, generally it's very readable and understandable, and very fascinating, a definite must read for students and/or lover of literature.
on 10 September 2012
Professor Watt's well known text has to some extent been regarded as the 'received wisdom' on the subject of the rise of the novel. Many students will now find his views open to question. To write an intelligent and well-considered essay on this much debated subject requires knowledge of what Watt believes. An essay considering this, and widening the scope by challenging these views, quoting of course from contradictory academic sources, will produce an essay that is awarded high marks. This book is therefore an essential text for students of literature.