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Peter Boxall's The Value of the Novel offers a reappraisal of the ethical, political and literary value of the novel as a genre at turning point in the history both of literature and of criticism. As the dominant critical concerns of the twentieth century faded, and new cultural and technological environments emerged, Boxall argues that we lost our collective sense of the purpose of the novel. This book responds to this predicament by demonstrating why and how the novel matters to us today. Ranging from Daniel Defoe to Zadie Smith, Boxall shows how the formal properties of the novel allow us to imagine the worlds in which we live. This is a vibrant, compelling and richly informed critical perspective that asks us to see anew how central fiction is to our idea of the world, and how richly the novel informs our attempts to understand our present and our future.Read more
- Covers the historical range of the novel
- Addresses contemporary critical debates
- Written in a clear, lucid style that makes complex arguments accessible to undergraduates
Reviews & endorsements
'The Value of the Novel is a triumph. Peter Boxall offers us a sweeping, stimulating revision of critical and literary history that looks forward to the novel's future even as it looks no less to its past. And his book is as moving as it is persuasive, because of the quality of its analysis and of Boxall's writing. This volume, the first of a new series, sets the highest standard for subsequent installments. Boxall re-establishes criticism as a comprehensive exploratory dialogue about every aspect of the art and rhetoric of fiction. His work reminds us of the value of the intellectual distinction that is, as much as the value of the novel, our common pursuit.' Robert Caserio, Pennsylvania State UniversitySee more reviews
'Peter Boxall's invigorating new book aims to articulate anew the work the novel does in a world marked by the pressure points of virtual reality and environmental calamity.' Studies in the Novel
'In The Value of the Novel … Boxall traverses a vast terrain, offering compelling close readings of more than a dozen novelists and connecting them with dozens more from around the world. His prose is lush and lyrical, his readings subtle and intellectually demanding. Sentence by sentence, both books are pleasure-reads for anyone who cares deeply about literary criticism.' Andrew Lanham, Notes and Queries
'… Offers a deft, timely, and persuasive argument for reexamining some of our most intuitive assumptions about the novel, including how it functions, how it has evolved, and what we can expect from it moving forward. … That Boxall's little book raises so many large questions is not, I think, a weakness but one of its many strengths. … For scholars and students interested in digging into the structural 'code' of the novel form … Boxall's volume will be indispensable.' R. John Williams, Novel
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- Date Published: September 2015
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107637245
- length: 202 pages
- dimensions: 216 x 138 x 8 mm
- weight: 0.21kg
- contains: 1 b/w illus.
- availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
Table of Contents
1. The novel voice
2. Is this really realism?
3. The novel body
4. Making time matter
5. The novel, justice and the law.
Interview with Peter Boxall
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