The Literature of Roguery - Vol. 1

The Literature of Roguery - Vol. 1

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The Literature of Roguery - Vol. 1

The Literature of Roguery - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

This book presents a detailed study of a large, complex, and important tract of literature. In the main it deals with what has hitherto escaped classification, or considers familiar matter from a new angle. Such types as the anatomy of roguery and the criminal biography are here for the first time defined and displayed in their development and connection with imaginative letters. Other types, like the jest-book, the drama, and the detective story, are now first correlated with the genre. Authors never before ranged in this camp are accorded honors there, and the credentials of those long enrolled are subjected to revision. If the English novel in a few specimens has already received attention as exemplifying the picaresque strain, no endeavor has before been made to discuss it from this standpoint as a whole. Nor has any rigorous criticism of individual works sought, as here, to determine their exact dependence upon foreign sources or the degree of their resemblance to and divergence from models of the type in other lands.

In the broadest sense, this history follows the fortunes of the anti-hero in literature. More narrowly, it is a study of realism, for it investigates the rôle enacted in literary art by the observation of low-life. Specifically, it traces in English letters a notable series of gradations from the first crude records of actuality to the complete reshaping of experience by the imagination, and in this process it points a constant tendency toward romanticism, counteracted at times by fresh returns to fact. It aims therefore to do a threefold service: first, to exhibit in . . .

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