Novel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian Fiction

Novel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian Fiction

by Garrett Stewart


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Novel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian Fiction by Garrett Stewart

Victorian novels, Garrett Stewart argues, hurtle forward in prose as violent as the brutal human existence they chronicle. In Novel Violence, he 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, Stewart uses his brilliant 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 powerful case for the centrality of verbal conflict to the experience of reading Victorian novels. He also maps his finely wrought 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, Stewart 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226774589
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 05/30/2009
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Garrett Stewart is the James O. Freedman Professor of Letters in the Department of English at the University of Iowa. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, Framed Time: Toward a Postfilmic Cinema, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

Backlog \ Prologue

Fiction in its Prose


Narrative Intension                                                                                                  

1          The Omitted Person Plot

Little Dorrit’s Fault

2          Attention Surfeit Disorder

An “Interregnum” on Poescript vs. Plot

3           Mind Frames

Anne Brontë’s Exchange Economy

4          Of Time as a River

The Mill of Desire

5          Death Per Force

Tess’s Destined End

Epilogue / Dialogue

Novel Criticism as Media Study

Notes to Chapters


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