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Forms of Modernity: Don Quixoteand Modern Theories of the Novel

Overview

It's a critical cliché that Cervantes' Don Quixote is the first modern novel, but this distinction raises two fundamental questions. First, how does one define a novel? And second, what is the relationship between this genre and understandings of modernity? In Forms of Modernity, Rachel Schmidt examines how seminal theorists and philosophers have wrestled with the status of Cervantes' masterpiece as an 'exemplary novel', in turn contributing to the emergence of key concepts ...

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Forms of Modernity: Don Quixote and Modern Theories of the Novel

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Overview

It's a critical cliché that Cervantes' Don Quixote is the first modern novel, but this distinction raises two fundamental questions. First, how does one define a novel? And second, what is the relationship between this genre and understandings of modernity? In Forms of Modernity, Rachel Schmidt examines how seminal theorists and philosophers have wrestled with the status of Cervantes' masterpiece as an 'exemplary novel', in turn contributing to the emergence of key concepts within genre theory.

Schmidt's discussion covers the views of well-known thinkers such as Friedrich Schlegel, José Ortega y Gasset, and Mikhail Bakhtin, but also the pivotal contributions of philosophers such as Hermann Cohen and Miguel de Unamuno. These theorists' examinations of Cervantes's fictional knight errant character point to an ever-shifting boundary between the real and the virtual. Drawing from both intellectual and literary history, Forms of Modernity richly explores the development of the categories and theories that we use today to analyze and understand novels.

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What People Are Saying

Anthony Cascardi
Highly significant and original, Forms of Modernity presents a wide-ranging synthesis of philosophical and theoretical receptions of Cervantes' Don Quixote. Rachel Schmidt impressively sheds new light on the book as a touchstone that has defined both the idea of the novel and the problem of modernity. Readers will find that Forms of Modernity holds their attention and interest extremely well while teaching them a tremendous amount.
Anthony Cascardi, professor of Comparative Literature, Rhetoric, and Spanish, University of California at Berkeley
Howard Mancing
Forms of Modernity will have a major influence on how we read Cervantes, the idea of modernity, and the genre of the novel. This major scholarly accomplishment provides understandings of theorists such as Bakhtin and Cohen that are often brilliant, and includes the best presentation of Schlegel's theory of the novel I have ever seen. Rachel Schmidt's rich knowledge of the literature on Don Quixote makes this a serious advance in state-of-the-art research.
Howard Mancing, professor of Spanish, Purdue University and President, Cervantes Society of America
Anthony Cascardi
Highly significant and original, Forms of Modernity presents a wide-ranging synthesis of philosophical and theoretical receptions of Cervantes' Don Quixote. Rachel Schmidt impressively sheds new light on the book as a touchstone that has defined both the idea of the novel and the problem of modernity. Readers will find that Forms of Modernity holds their attention and interest extremely well while teaching them a tremendous amount.
Howard Mancing
Forms of Modernity will have a major influence on how we read Cervantes, the idea of modernity, and the genre of the novel. This major scholarly accomplishment provides understandings of theorists such as Bakhtin and Cohen that are often brilliant, and includes the best presentation of Schlegel's theory of the novel I have ever seen. Rachel Schmidt's rich knowledge of the literature on Don Quixote makes this a serious advance in state-of-the-art research.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442642515
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 3/30/2011
  • Series: University of Toronto Romance Series
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Schmidt is a professor in the Department of French, Italian and Spanish at the University of Calgary.
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Table of Contents

Prologue

Abbreviations for Cited Material

Note on Translations and Quotations

  1. Don Quixote and the Problem of Modernity
  2. Arabesques and the Modern Novel: Friedrich Schlegel’s Interpretation of Don Quixote
  3. The Emptiness of the Arabesque: Georg Lukács and the Theory of the Novel
  4. Ideas and Forms: Hermann Cohen’s Novelistics
  5. The Poetics of Resuscitation: Unamuno’s Anti-Novelistics
  6. Form Foreshortened: Ortega y Gasset’s Meditations on Don Quixote
  7. Don Quixote in Bakhtin
  8. Revolutions and the Novel

Bibliography
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