The Novel: An Alternative History: Beginnings to 1600

The Novel: An Alternative History: Beginnings to 1600

by Steven Moore

View All Available Formats & Editions

A comprehensive history—and controversial reappraisal—of the world's most popular and innovative literary form.


A comprehensive history—and controversial reappraisal—of the world's most popular and innovative literary form.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This second volume continues the rollicking, wondrous journey begun in the first, starting with Miguel de Cervantes's 1605 Don Quixote and continuing through Hugh Henry Brackenridge's 1792 American satire Modern Chivalry. The depth of scholarship is breathtaking, and readers will appreciate Moore's attempts at levity by interjecting moments of humorous editorializing…. VERDICT Recommended for academic libraries and those interested in an expanded history of the novel” —Library Journal

“The enterprise leaves one quite in awe (if not aghast) at both the vast sweep and minute detail of Mr. Moore’s effort.” –The Scriblerian

Library Journal
Moore, editor and independent scholar, informs readers that the first "real" novel—written by Xenophon of Athens in the fourth century B.C.E. and entitled Cyropaedia (The Education of Cyrus)—has a reputation for being "uncommonly dull." Moore detests "dull," so he explains that Xenophon was actually "feeling his way to a new form." In this gargantuan volume, Moore's primary goal is to provide a complete history of the novel from its beginnings to the year 1600, giving special attention to "innovative, unconventional" works, while his secondary goal is to respond to literary critics who attack writers for following "the dictates of art rather than those of entertainment." Moore identifies and discusses novels from the ancient, medieval, Renaissance, Eastern, and Far Eastern worlds. He writes authoritatively and enthusiastically about "the various forms and permutations of the novel" and seeks to "demonstrate the genre's age and infinite variety." His observations include the following: Giovanni Boccaccio's Elegy of Lady Fiammetta is his most daring literary experiment, The Perfect Generosity of Prince Vessantara qualifies as the first Buddhist novel, and Luo Guanzhong's Three Kingdoms deserves to be ranked among the greatest novels ever written. VERDICT Moore is serious in his effort to produce a useful work for the general reader. Recommended especially for literature students as well as curious laypersons seeking information and entertainment.—Kathryn R. Bartelt, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN

Product Details

Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.80(d)

Meet the Author

Steven Moore (Ph.D. Rutgers, 1988) is the author of several books and essays on modern literature. From 1988 to 1996 he was managing editor of the Review of Contemporary Fiction/Dalkey Archive Press, and for decades he has reviewed books for a variety of journals and newspapers, principally The Washington Post. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >