13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley

By Jane Smiley

Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling novelist Jane Smiley celebrates the novel–and takes us on an exciting travel via 100 of them–in this seductive and immensely lucrative literary tribute.

In her inimitable style–exuberant, candid, opinionated–Smiley explores the ability of the unconventional, its heritage and diversity, its cultural effect, and simply the way it works its magic. She invitations us backstage of novel-writing, sharing her personal conduct and spilling the secrets and techniques of her craft. and she or he bargains worthwhile suggestion to aspiring authors. As she works her approach via 100 novels–from classics corresponding to the thousand-year-old Tale of Genji to fresh fiction through Zadie Smith and Alice Munro–she infects us anew with the fervour for examining that's the governing spirit of this reward to ebook enthusiasts in every single place.

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James’s radical mimeticism, his belief that fiction’s only charge is to represent an individual’s sincere impression of life, is thus tempered by the practical necessity and aesthetic value of achieved literary composition. When James discusses composition, then, a set of rules for fiction writers is the last thing on his mind. Composition is most frequently described in the Prefaces as the disciplined confinement of unfurling authorial sensibility to the productively ‘‘tight place’’ of fictional form.

Although the cross-fertilization of the Russian and Anglo-American traditions is apparent in the theorists’ overlapping sense of a novel canon (James quotes Turgenev, Tolstoy is a major figure for Lubbock, and Shklovsky has chapters on Dickens as well as Sterne), there is no evidence that Shklovsky read James’s Prefaces (even though he does refer to William James’s theory of the emotions) – and even if Shklovsky had read Henry James, he no doubt would have considered their projects far removed from one another.

Restored perception is qualitatively different, on this view, from any emotional response a reader might have to the events in the story world. e. the technique]’’ (45). 2005 4:17pm page 22 perception to the reader, then this does not mean for Shklovsky that art produces emotion: in one of his most extreme formulations he declares that ‘‘Art . . is unsympathetic – or beyond sympathy. . In discussing such emotion we have to examine it from the point of view of the composition itself, in exactly the same way that a mechanic must examine a driving belt to understand the details of a machine; he certainly would not study the driving belt as if he were a vegetarian’’ (43).

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