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2 - The Rise and Fall of the Aristotelian Novel

from Part I

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 November 2020

Nicholas D. Paige
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley
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Summary

This chapter backtracks to 1601, revealing that the vogue for novels said to be true (pseudofactual) was in fact the outcome of previous evolutions, rather than simply a traditional practice or a reaction against an earlier fanciful novel (often called romance). Specifically, during the seventeenth century the novel mimed epic and tragedy in borrowing its protagonists from history, becoming measurably more “Aristotelian” starting around the 1630s. It was this Aristotelian novel that subsequently declined in the face of the pseudofactual novel described in Chapter 1. Taken together, these two chapters demonstrate that modern critical investment in a “single birth” narrative — i.e., that the novel rose where once there was nothing like it — is untenable.

Type
Chapter
Information
Technologies of the Novel
Quantitative Data and the Evolution of Literary Systems
, pp. 41 - 60
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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