Reading the American Novel 1920-2010 by James Phelan

By James Phelan

This astute advisor to the literary achievements of yank novelists within the 20th century areas their paintings in its historic context and gives distinctive analyses of landmark novels according to a sincerely laid out set of instruments for interpreting narrative form.

  • Includes a priceless evaluate of 20th- and early twenty-first century American literary historical past
  • Provides analyses of various middle texts together with The nice Gatsby, Invisible guy, The Sound and the Fury, The Crying of Lot 49 and Freedom
  • Relates those person novels to the wider creative routine of modernism and postmodernism
  • Explains and applies key ideas of rhetorical reading
  • Includes quite a few cross-novel comparisons and contrasts 



Chapter 1 rules of Rhetorical examining (pages 23–38):
Chapter 2 The Age of Innocence (1920): Bildung and the Ethics of wish (pages 39–60):
Chapter three the nice Gatsby (1925): personality Narration, Temporal Order, and Tragedy (pages 61–83):
Chapter four A Farewell to fingers (1929): Bildung, Tragedy, and the Rhetoric of Voice (pages 85–104):
Chapter five The Sound and the Fury (1929): Portrait Narrative as Tragedy (pages 105–126):
Chapter 6 Their Eyes have been gazing God (1937): Bildung and the Rhetoric and Politics of Voice (pages 127–147):
Chapter 7 Invisible guy (1952): Bildung, Politics, and Rhetorical layout (pages 149–169):
Chapter eight Lolita (1955): The Ethics of the Telling and the Ethics of the instructed (pages 171–192):
Chapter nine The Crying of Lot forty nine (1966): Mimetic Protagonist, Thematic–Synthetic Storyworld (pages 193–211):
Chapter 10 loved (1987): Sethe's selection and Morrison's moral problem (pages 213–235):
Chapter eleven Freedom (2010): Realism after Postmodernism (pages 237–259):

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With Peter J. Rabinowitz I have written a similar account of six of these principles in Narrative Theory (principle two, about material and treatment, is new to this version). I am grateful to Peter for many productive conversations about these principles and about rhetorical reading. 2. This model of the audience has been developed by Peter J. Rabinowitz (see “Truth” and Before), though my version of it gives more prominence to the narratee, a concept developed by Gerald Prince, than Rabinowitz does.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1983. , and Warhol, R. Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates. Columbus: Ohio State University Press; 2012. Prince, G. Introduction to the Study of the Narratee. ) Reader-Response Criticism: From Formalism to Post–structuralism. J. ) Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1980. pp. 7–25. Phelan, J. Experiencing Fiction: Judgments, Progressions, and the Rhetorical Theory of Narrative. Columbus: Ohio State University Press; 2007. Phelan, J. Implied Author, Deficient Narration, and Nonfiction Narrative: Or, What’s Off-Kilter in The Year of Magical Thinking and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly?

In addition, not all off-kilter narration has the same consequences for the affective and ethical dimensions of our experience. While much unreliability— for example, Humbert Humbert’s efforts to justify his pedophilia—increases the distance between the narrator and authorial audience, other unreliability, such as Huck Finn’s judgment that he will go to Hell for not reporting Jim as a runaway slave, closes the distance. Thus, the effects of unreliable narration can vary along a spectrum from bonding to estranging.

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