Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Masters of the English Novel A Study of Principles and Personalities   By: (1861-1940)

Book cover

First Page:

MASTERS OF THE ENGLISH NOVEL:

A STUDY OF PRINCIPLES AND PERSONALITIES

BY RICHARD BURTON

PREFACE

The principle of inclusion in this book is the traditional one which assumes that criticism is only safe when it deals with authors who are dead. In proportion as we approach the living or, worse, speak of those still on earth, the proper perspective is lost and the dangers of contemporary judgment incurred. The light minded might add, that the dead cannot strike back; to pass judgment upon them is not only more critical but safer.

Sometimes, however, the distinction between the living and the dead is an invidious one. Three authors hereinafter studied are examples: Meredith, Hardy and Stevenson. Hardy alone is now in the land of the living, Meredith having but just passed away. Yet to omit the former, while including the other two, is obviously arbitrary, since his work in fiction is as truly done as if he, like them, rested from his literary labors and the gravestone chronicled his day of death. For reasons best known to himself, Mr. Hardy seems to have chosen verse for the final expression of his personality. It is more than a decade since he published a novel. So far as age goes, he is the senior of Stevenson: "Desperate Remedies" appeared when the latter was a stripling at the University of Edinburgh. Hardy is therefore included in the survey. I am fully aware that to strive to measure the accomplishment of those practically contemporary, whether it be Meredith and Hardy or James and Howells, is but more or less intelligent guess work. Nevertheless, it is pleasant employ, the more interesting, perhaps, to the critic and his readers because an element of uncertainty creeps into what is said. If the critic runs the risk of Je suis, J'y reste, he gets his reward in the thrill of prophecy; and should he turn out a false prophet, he is consoled by the reflection that it will place him in a large and enjoyable company.

Throughout the discussion it has been the intention to keep steadily before the reader the two main ways of looking at life in fiction, which have led to the so called realistic and romantic movements. No fear of repetition in the study of the respective novelists has kept me from illustrating from many points of view and taking advantage of the opportunity offered by each author, the distinction thus set up. For back of all stale jugglery of terms, lies a very real and permanent difference. The words denote different types of mind as well as of art: and express also a changed interpretation of the world of men, resulting from the social and intellectual revolution since 1750.

No apology would appear to be necessary for Chapter Seven, which devotes sufficient space to the French influence to show how it affected the realistic tendency of all modern novel making. The Scandinavian lands, Germany, Italy, England and Spain, all have felt the leadership of France in this regard and hence any attempt to sketch the history of the Novel on English soil, would ignore causes, that did not acknowledge the Gallic debt.

It may also be remarked that the method employed in the following pages necessarily excludes many figures of no slight importance in the evolution of English fiction. There are books a plenty dealing with these secondary personalities, often significant as links in the chain and worthy of study were the purpose to present the complete history of the Novel. By centering upon indubitable masters, the principles illustrated both by the lesser and larger writers will, it is hoped, be brought home with equal if not greater force.

CONTENTS

I. FICTION AND THE NOVEL II. EIGHTEENTH CENTURY BEGINNINGS: RICHARDSON III. EIGHTEENTH CENTURY BEGINNINGS: FIELDING IV. DEVELOPMENTS: SMOLLETT, STERNE AND OTHERS V. REALISM: JAKE AUSTEN VI. MODERN ROMANTICISM: SCOTT VII. FRENCH INFLUENCE VIII. DICKENS IX. THACKERAY X. GEORGE ELIOT XI. TROLLOPE AND OTHERS XII. HARDY AND MEREDITH XIII. STEVENSON XIV... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books