Book

Novel Violence

Garrett Stewart

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226774589
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226774602 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226774602.001.0001
Novel Violence

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Victorian novels, this book argues, hurtle forward in prose as violent as the brutal human existence they chronicle. The book explains how such language assaults the norms of written expression and how, in doing so, it counteracts the narratives it simultaneously propels. Immersing himself in the troubling plots of Charles Dickens, Anne Brontë, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy, the author uses his new method of narratography to trace the microplots of language as they unfold syllable by syllable. By pinpointing where these linguistic narratives collide with the stories that give them context, he makes a case for the centrality of verbal conflict to the experience of reading Victorian novels. The author also maps his argument on the spectrum of influential theories of the novel—including those of Georg Lukács and Ian Watt—and tests it against Edgar Allan Poe's antinovelistic techniques. In the process, he shifts critical focus toward the grain of narrative and away from more abstract analyses of structure or cultural context, revealing how novels achieve their semantic and psychic effects, and unearthing, in prose, something akin to poetry.

Keywords: Victorian novels; Charles Dickens; Anne Brontë; George Eliot; Thomas Hardy; narratography; microplots; linguistic narratives; verbal conflict; Ian Watt

Book.  276 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Novel Violence

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Mind Frames in Novel Violence

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