The Encyclopedia of the Novel - Vol. 1

The Encyclopedia of the Novel - Vol. 1

The Encyclopedia of the Novel - Vol. 1

The Encyclopedia of the Novel - Vol. 1


An advanced reference resource featuring nearly 150 contributors and over 500,000 words, The Encyclopedia of the Novel provides authoritative accounts of the history, terminology, genre, and theory of the novel.

The entries in this encyclopedia are written by an international cast of scholars and overseen by an advisory board of 37 leading specialists in the field. Arranged in A-Z format across two fully indexed and meticulously cross-referenced volumes, the entries explore the history and tradition of the novel in different areas of the world; formal elements of the novel (such as narrative structure, plot, character, and narrative perspective); technical aspects of the genre (such as realism, dialogue, and style); subgenres, including the bildungsroman and the graphic novel; theoretical problems; book history; and the relationship of the novel to other arts and disciplines.


Julie Sanders

Descriptions of the novel as a form almost inevitably discuss the use of intertextuality, allusion, and quotation as some of its major narrative strategies. Canonical examples of the nineteenth-century novel are frequently constructed around an architecture of citations, epigraphs, and cross-references. For example, we can look to Charles Dickens’s invocations of William Shakespeare both as language and as performance in Nicholas Nickleby (1838–39) and Great Expectations (1861), or many of George Eliot’s shaping epigraphs in Middlemarch (1871–72), derived from her vast reading knowledge. Postmodern novels, albeit in sometimes fragmented form, have as their vertebrae the literature that precedes them (see MODERNISM). Angela Carter’s self-conscious bricolage of poetry, novels, and films in her fiction and short stories provides one obvious example. Her Nights at the Circus (1984) derives imaginative energy from Dickensian style and aesthetics, while Wise Children (1991) provides an intricate response not just to Shakespeare’s plays but the complex global and cultural history of Shakespearean adaptation and afterlives. All of these works are relevant to a discussion of the novel as an inherently appropriative and adaptive genre, but when we talk about adaptation with reference to the novel, we are usually describing a more sustained relationship between specific texts. Such a relationship serves as a direct invitation to read intertextually, with knowledge of at least two texts or works simultaneously, allowing for interaction with each. It is for these reasons that the emergent field of adaptation studies often invokes parallel fields of scholarship, such as reception theory, the study of reader response, and cognitive poetics (see cognitive THEORY).

Voicing the marginalized

Discussions of adaptation and the novel focus on novels that serve as facilitating examples of the general conventions or methods of practice within the field. Two touchstone works of this kind are Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) and J. M. Coetzee’s deeply metafictional Foe (1986).

In its reorienting of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), Wide Sargasso Sea proleptically brings into view many of the chief critical concerns with that novel during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries (Su, 392). Rhys’s novel presents the viewpoint of the marginalized and oppressed character Bertha Rochester, Mr. Rochester’s “mad” first wife, who is confined to the upper storey of Thornfield . . .

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