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THE RISE OF NOVEL Valentina Tenedini with the help of classe IV^ a app students ISRMA - academic year 2013 -4 Adapted from Thomson, G, S. Maglioni, S. Literary landscapes , Black Cat
In the 17 th century real life became the dominant concern of the novel because of a number of reasons: The rise of philosophical rationalism (Descartes and Locke) according to which each individual could discover the reality around him/her through individual experience , according to Descartes, experience is a personal matter independent of tradition of past thought; consequently the novel is the art form which best reflects this individualist approach (previous literary forms were based on mythology and fable), the novel’s primary criterion is truth to individual experience. ● The influence of Puritanism and Methodism. The former preached the idea that man must save himself by his own efforts and by living a virtuous life. The latter was the application of the Puritan ethic to everyday life; it stressed the importance of hard work and daily activity. Thus the practicality of everyday life took over cultivation of the imagination. ● The increase of the reading public (newspapers and periodicals) the expansion of book sales bought but the middle class shopkeepers merchants and traders, women readers: the public wanted to read stories which reflected their own interests and problems with characters thy could identify with. ● THE RISE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS (Britain’s economic political and social life had, since time immemorial, been dominated by the monarch and an entourage of aristocrats. During the seventeenth and especially the eighteenth century, a growing middle class stamped its influence on all walks of national life. Initiative, self-reliance, faith and patriotism were the qualities that helped the middle classes to become the driving force behind increased democratisation, rapid economic progress and colonial expansion. ) ●
The mother of the English novel is a 17 th century, often ignored, woman writer, Aphra Behn (1640 -. 89) She had studied, translated philosophical works from French and poetry from Latin, and wrote the narrative Oroonoko or the Royal slave in 1688, telling the story of a brave slave; by praising his nobility and honour she somehow criticized the slave trade. V. Woolf acclaimed her as the first English professional writer.
Formal variety The early years of the development of the novel are to be considered a period of formal experimentation. Although the novel was becoming tied to real life, writers were still influenced by the improbable tales of the past. There was still no dominant form. The variety resulting from such experimentation, both in form and style, provided models for the novelist who followed.