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Reading the Modern European Novel since 1900

Reading the Modern European Novel since 1900

Daniel R. Schwarz

ISBN: 978-1-118-69341-4

Mar 2018, Wiley-Blackwell

376 pages



An exploration of the modern European novel from a renowned English literature scholar

Reading the Modern European Novel since 1900 is an engaging, in-depth examination of the evolution of the modern European novel. Written in Daniel R. Schwarz’s precise and highly readable style, this critical study offers compelling discussions on a wide range of major works since 1900 and examines recurring themes within the context of significant historical events, including both World Wars and the Holocaust. The author cites important developments in the evolution of the modern novel and explores how these paradigmatic works of fiction reflect intellectual and cultural history, including developments in painting and cinema. Schwarz focuses on narrative complexity, thematic subtlety, and formal originality as well as how novels render historical events and cultural developments Discussing major works by Proust, Camus, Mann, Kafka, Grass, di Lampedusa, Bassani, Kertesz, Pamuk, Kundera, Saramago, Muller and Ferrante, Schwarz explores how these often experimental masterworks pay homage to the their major predecessors--discussed in Schwarz’s ground-breaking Reading the European Novel to 1900--even while proposing radical departures from realism in their approach to time and space, their testing the limits of language, and their innovative ways of rendering the human psyche.

Written for teachers and students by a highly-acclaimed scholar and including valuable study questions, Reading the Modern European Novel since 1900 offers a guide for a deeper understanding of how these original modern masters respond to both the past and present.

Acknowledgments ix

Also by Daniel R. Schwarz xi

1 Introduction: The Novel After 1900 1

2 Cultural Crisis: Decadence and Desire in Mann’s Death in Venice (1912) 13

3 Proust’s Swann’s Way (1913) and the Novel of Sensibility: Memory, Obsession, and Consciousness 34

4 The Metamorphosis (1915): Kaf ka’s Noir Challenge to Realism 59

5 Camus’s Indifferent, Amoral, and Godless Cosmos: The Stranger (1942) and The Plague (1947) as Existential Novels 77

6 Why Giorgio Bassani Matters: The Elegiac Imagined World of Bassani and the Jews of Ferrara 109

7 The Novel as Elegy: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard (1958) 126

8 Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum (1959): Reconfiguring European History as Fable 144

9 Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness (1975): Rendering the Holocaust as a Present Tense Event 176

10 Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984): History as Fate 197

11 Saramago’s The History of the Siege of Lisbon (1989): Rewriting History, Reconfiguring Lives 223

12 Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red (1998): Cultural Conflict in Sixteenth‐Century Istanbul and its Modern Implications 242

13 Herta Müller’s The Hunger Angel (2009): A Hunger for Life, A Hunger for Words 265

14 Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet: Women Discovering Their Voices in a Violent and Sexist Male Society 286

Selected Bibliography (Including Works Cited) 327

Index 334