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Reading the European Novel to 1900: A Critical Study of Major Fiction from Cervantes' Don Quixote to Zola's Germinal

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3047-2
304 pages
October 2014, Wiley-Blackwell
Reading the European Novel to 1900: A Critical Study of Major Fiction from Cervantes


  • Offers a close reading of individual texts with attention to their cultural and canonical context
  • Examines the history and evolution of the novel to 1900 and defines each author’s aesthetic, cultural, political, and historical significance
  • Covers essential and frequently taught masterworks up to 1900, including Cervantes’ Don Quixote; Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina; Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamazov; Stendhal’s The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma; Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Sentimental Education; Balzac’s Pere Goriot; and  Zola’s Germinal
  • Written with students and teachers in mind, this book provides accessible and engaging discussions of each novel, along with important pedagogical tools
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 Introduction: The Odyssey of Reading Novels 1

2 MigueldeCervantes’Don Quixote (1605, 1615): Inventing the Novel 25

3 Reading Stendhal’s The Red and the Black (1830) and The Charterhouse of Parma (1839): Character and Caricature 55

1 “Perhaps”:The Red and the Black as Psychological Novel and Political Anatomy 56

2 The Charterhouse of Parma: Narrative as Energy, Reading as Play 69

4 PredatoryBehaviorinBalzac’sP`ere Goriot (1835): Paris as a Trope for Moral Cannibalism 89

5 Flaubert’sMadame Bovary (1857) and Sentimental Education (1869): The Aesthetic Novel 107

1 Madame Bovary: Literary Form Examining Provincial Manners and Desire 107

2 Briefly Discussing the Puzzles of Sentimental Education 124

6 ReadingDostoevsky’sNotes from Underground (1864) and Crime and Punishment (1866) 133

1 Notes from Underground: The Piano Plays Back 133

2 Crime and Punishment: Raskolnikov’s Descent and Rebirth 146

7 Hyperbole and Incongruity in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1880): Excess and Turmoil as Modes of Being 171

8 Tolstoy’sWar and Peace (1869): The Novel as Historical Epic 203

9 Tolstoy’sAnna Karenina (1877): Exploring Passions and Values in Nineteenth-Century Russia 231

10 Emile Zola’s Germinal (1885): The Aesthetics, Thematics, and Ideology of the Novel of Purpose 253

Selected Bibliography (IncludingWorks Cited) 273

Index 279

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Author Information

Daniel R. Schwarz is Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English Literature and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1968. He is regarded as among the world’s leading critic-scholars of the form, history, and meaning of the novel.He has written sixteen books covering a wide variety of subjects from renowned studies of Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Wallace Stevens, and critical theory as well as the Holocaust and New York City culture. Most recently, he is the author of Crises and Turmoil at the New York Times, (2012; new paperback edition, 2014), In Defense of Reading: Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), and Reading the Modern British and Irish Novel 1890-1930 (Blackwell, 2004). He blogs regularly on the media and higher education for the Huffington Post and has lectured all over the world.

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“Anyone reading or teaching these books at the college level for the first time will benefit from this book. . . Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; faculty; general readers.”  (Choice, 1 August 2015)

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