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Novel Characters: A Genealogy

ISBN: 978-1-4051-5951-7
208 pages
October 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
Novel Characters: A Genealogy (1405159510) cover image


Novel Characters offers a fascinating and in-depth history of the novelistic character from the “birth of the novel” in Don Quixote, through the great canonical works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, to the most influential international novels of the present day 
  • An original study which offers a unique approach to thinking about and discussing character
  • Makes extensive reference to both traditional and more recent and specialized academic studies of the novel
  • Provides a critical vocabulary for understanding how the novelistic conception of character has changed over time.
  • Examines a broad range of novels, cultures, and periods
  • Promotes discussion of how different cultures and times think about human identity, and how the concept of what a character is has changed over time
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Table of Contents



1 Introduction: Novel Characters.

Where Do the Novel's Characters Come From?

Surprising Characters.

Novel Types.

I Wholes.

2 Originals.

Quixote: Or the Originality of Imitators.

Original Claims and Final Reckonings.

The English Original.

Conversations with an Original.

And Now for Our Heroines.

3 Individuals.


Women of Character.

Aristocrats and Commoners.

The Incomparables.

II Fractions.

4 Selves/Identities.

Me and Mine.

Visualizing the Self.

All in All.

The Final Me.


III Compounds.

5 Native Cosmopolitans.

Native Cosmopolitans.

Stereotypes and Mimic Men.

The New Man and the Native Cosmopolitan.


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Author Information

Maria DiBattista is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Princeton University; she has written extensively on modern literature, popular and pulp fiction, and film. Her books include First Love: The Affections of Modern Fiction (1991), Fast Talking Dames (2001), and Imagining Virginia Woolf: An Experiment in Critical Biography (2009).
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