The Humanistic Heritage: Critical Theories of the English Novel from James to Hillis Miller

The Humanistic Heritage: Critical Theories of the English Novel from James to Hillis Miller

The Humanistic Heritage: Critical Theories of the English Novel from James to Hillis Miller

The Humanistic Heritage: Critical Theories of the English Novel from James to Hillis Miller

Excerpt

I shall be discussing the theory and method of Anglo-American novel criticism in order to understand the way that the novel has been read, taught, and written about since 1900 in England and America. Implicitly and explicitly, I shall be arguing for the importance of an ideology of reading which I call the Humanistic Heritage. My hope is to contribute to a dialogue between traditional formal criticism that has dominated Anglo-American criticism and recent criticism, including structuralism, deconstruction, and Marxism.

In order to be able to make comparisons, my focus is on books that treat the same subject: the English novel from Defoe through Joyce. I shall discuss the trends in novel criticism in England, America, and the English-speaking world since 1900. I have selected major texts which illustrate those trends and which contribute to the Anglo-American aesthetic of the novel. Henry James's fiction criticism and Percy Lubbock's The Craft of Fiction (1921); E. M. Forster Aspects of the Novel (1927); F. R. Leavis The Great Tradition (1948); Dorothy Van Ghent's The English Novel: Form and Function (1953); Ian Watt The Rise of the Novel (1957); Erich Auerbach Mimesis (1953); Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism (1957); Wayne Booth The Rhetoric of Fiction (1961); Frank Kermode The Sense of an Ending (1967); the Marxist novel criticism of Arnold Kettle and Raymond Williams; and J. Hillis Miller The Form of Victorian Fiction (1968) and Fiction and Repetition (1982). I have included Auerbach and Frye because, although addressing the English novel less centrally, they have written theoretical studies that have had a major influence on novel criticism. And I discuss Williams and Kettle because Marxist principles have played a significant if subsidiary role in the criticism of the English novel.

While one might quarrel with some of my choices, I believe that these are the books that have been most influential in the reading and teaching of the English novel. I have taken no systematic survey, but I

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.