A Psychological Approach To Fiction

Overview

"Psychology helps us to talk about what the novelist knows, but fiction helps us to know what the psychologist is talking about." So writes the author of this brilliant study. The chief impulse of realistic fiction is mimetic; novels of psychological realism call by their very nature for psychological analysis. This study uses psychology to analyze important characters and to explore the consciousness of the author and the work as a whole.

What is needed for the interpretation of realistic fiction is a ...

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Overview

"Psychology helps us to talk about what the novelist knows, but fiction helps us to know what the psychologist is talking about." So writes the author of this brilliant study. The chief impulse of realistic fiction is mimetic; novels of psychological realism call by their very nature for psychological analysis. This study uses psychology to analyze important characters and to explore the consciousness of the author and the work as a whole.

What is needed for the interpretation of realistic fiction is a psychological theory congruent with the experience portrayed. Emerging from Paris' approach are wholly new and illuminating interpretations of Becky Sharp, William Dobbin, Amelia Sedley, Julien Sorel, Madame de Rênal, Mathilde de la Mole, Maggie Tulliver, the underground man, Charley Marlow, and Lord Jim.

The psychological approach employed by Paris helps the reader not only to grasp the intricacies of mimetic characterization, but also to make sense of thematic inconsistencies which occur in some of the books under consideration. For students of human behavior as well as students of literature, the great figures of realistic fiction provide a rich source of empathic understanding and psychological insight.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Paris’s “advocacy of the ‘third force’ psychologies of Abraham Maslow and Karen Horney is an attempt to break with the old dispensation and its monopoly of literary fields . . . . It seems probable, then, that Paris’s readings will serve in the future introductory models of responsible, self-critical analysis in the psychological mode.” — Mark Spilka, Novel: A Forum on Fiction “Mr. Paris’ carefully written study has the double merit offering stimulating insights into several works of great fiction while also elaborating upon . the body of theoretical literature on the novel as a genre . . . . [The] individual chapters of analysis are almost uniformly excellent . . Mr. Paris stresses the notion that the novel represents what is, not what should be, and that novelists are perfect observers, not perfect oracles.” — Richard Weisberg, Modern Fiction Studies
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412813174
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard J. Paris is professor emeritus of English at the University of Florida. His fields of interest include Victorian and comparative fiction and the psychological study of literature. He is author of numerous books, including Rereading George Eliot, Heaven and Its Discontents: Milton’s Characters in Paradise Lost, Bargains with Fate: Psychological Crises and Conflicts in Shakespeare and His Plays, and A General Drama of Pain: Character and Fate in Hardy’s Major Novels.

Bernard J. Paris is professor emeritus of English at the University of Florida. His fields of interest include Victorian and comparative fiction and the psychological study of literature. He is author of numerous books, including Rereading George Eliot, Heaven and Its Discontents: Milton’s Characters in Paradise Lost, Bargains with Fate: Psychological Crises and Conflicts in Shakespeare and His Plays, and A General Drama of Pain: Character and Fate in Hardy’s Major Novels.

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