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The English Novel   By: (1845-1933)

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The English Novel by George Saintsbury is a comprehensive and insightful exploration of the history and evolution of the novel in England. Spanning a wide range of periods and authors, Saintsbury's work provides a valuable and informative resource for any enthusiast of English literature.

One of the strengths of this book is Saintsbury's ability to delve into the historical context surrounding the novels he discusses. From the origins of the novel in the 18th century to the contemporary works of his time, Saintsbury offers a thorough analysis of the societal and cultural factors that influenced the development of the English novel. His research is meticulous, and his attention to detail makes for a captivating and illuminating reading experience.

In addition to providing historical context, Saintsbury demonstrates an impressive depth of knowledge about the various authors and their works. With a keen eye and a rich understanding of literary techniques, he dissects the novels to uncover their artistic brilliance and intellectual significance. His expertise in recognizing and dissecting narrative structures, character development, and themes is evident throughout the book, making it an invaluable resource for students and scholars alike.

What sets this book apart is its readability and accessibility. Despite covering centuries of literature, Saintsbury's prose is engaging and conversational, making it a pleasure to read. He uses anecdotes, personal insights, and humor to bring the authors and their works to life, effectively bridging the gap between academic analysis and entertainment. Furthermore, Saintsbury's passion for the subject matter is evident in his writing, serving to ignite the reader's own love for the English novel.

However, it is worth noting that this book was published over a century ago, and as such, some of its content may feel outdated or limited in scope. The absence of more recent authors and works is understandable considering the time of publication, but it may leave readers desiring a more comprehensive examination of the English novel up to the present day. Nonetheless, the book remains an essential resource for understanding the foundations and early development of the genre.

In conclusion, The English Novel by George Saintsbury is a rich and informative exploration of the history of the English novel. Saintsbury's meticulous research, deep knowledge, and engaging writing style make this book a valuable resource for anyone interested in the genre. While its age may limit its coverage of contemporary authors, the book's historical analysis and literary insights are enduring and make it a worthwhile addition to any literary enthusiast's collection.

First Page:







It is somewhat curious that there is, so far as I know, no complete handling in English of the subject of this volume, popular and important though that subject has been. Dunlop's History of Fiction , an excellent book, dealt with a much wider matter, and perforce ceased its dealing just at the beginning of the most abundant and brilliant development of the English division. Sir Walter Raleigh's English Novel , a book of the highest value for acute criticism and grace of style, stops short at Miss Austen, and only glances, by a sort of anticipation, at Scott. The late Mr. Sidney Lanier's English Novel and the Principle of its Development is really nothing but a laudatory study of "George Eliot," with glances at other writers, including violent denunciations of the great eighteenth century men. There are numerous monographs on parts of the subject: but nothing else that I know even attempting the whole. I should, of course, have liked to deal with so large a matter in a larger space: but one may and should "cultivate the garden" even if it is not a garden of many acres in extent... Continue reading book >>

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