"Schwarz's study is chock full of judicious evaluation of characters, narrative devices, ethical commentary, and helpful information about historical and political contexts including the role of Napoleon, the rise of capitalism, trains, class divisions, transformation of rural life, and the struggle to define human values in a period characterized by debates between and among rationalism, spiritualism, and determinism. One experiences the pleasure of watching a master critic as he re-reads, savors, and passes on his hard-won wisdom about how we as humans read and why.
Daniel Morris, Professor of English, Purdue University
Written by one of literature's most esteemed scholars and critics, Reading the European Novel to 1900 is an engaging and in-depth examination of major works of the European novel from Cervantes' Don Quixote to Zola's Germinal. In Daniel R. Schwarz's inimitable style, which balances formal and historical criticism in precise, readable prose, this book offers close readings of individual texts with attention to each one's cultural and canonical context.
Major texts that he discusses: Cervantes' Don Quixote; Stendhal's The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma; Balzac's Père Goriot; Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Sentimental Education; Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamazov; Tolstoy's War and Peace and Anna Karenina; and Zola's Germinal.
Schwarz examines the history and evolution of the novel during this period and defines each author's aesthetic, cultural, political, and historical significance. Incorporating important pedagogical suggestions and the latest research, this text provides accessible and lucid discussion of the European novel to 1900 for students, teachers, and general readers interested in the evolution of the novelistic form.