Nearly as global in its ambition and sweep as its subject, Franco Moretti's The Novel is a watershed event in the understanding of the first truly planetary literary form. A translated selection from the epic five-volume Italian Il Romanzo (2001-2003), The Novel's two volumes are a unified multiauthored reference work, containing more than one hundred specially commissioned essays by leading contemporary critics from around the world. Providing the first international comparative reassessment of the novel, these essential volumes reveal the form in unprecedented depth and breadth--as a great cultural, social, and human phenomenon that stretches from the ancient Greeks to today, where modernity itself is unimaginable without the genre.
By viewing the novel as much more than an aesthetic form, this landmark collection demonstrates how the genre has transformed human emotions and behavior, and the very perception of reality. Historical, statistical, and formal analyses show the novel as a complex literary system, in which new forms proliferate in every period and place.
Volume 1: History, Geography, and Culture, looks at the novel mostly from the outside, treating the transition from oral to written storytelling and the rise of narrative and fictionality, and covering the ancient Greek novel, the novel in premodern China, the early Spanish novel, and much else, including readings of novels from around the world.
These books will be essential reading for all students and scholars of literature.
"The most crucial aspect of the Il romanzo project is the idea driving it to see literature globally, to free 'the novel' from its modernist, strictly Western center of emergence and consider instead how the form has mutated around the world, and why."--Emilie Bickerton, Bookforum
"It's a rare literary critic who attracts so much public attention, and there's good reason: few are as hell-bent on rethinking the way we talk about literature. . . . There's no question that people will still be talking about these volumes twenty-five years from now."--Eric Bluson, Times Literary Supplement
"Moretti and his contributors have succeeded in making the study of the novel--if not the entire 'literary field'--'longer, larger and deeper' than it was before, or than any single scholar could ever make it."--David Trotter, London Review of Books
"[A] very ambitious collection . . . . The Novel is an impressive achievement, and precisely because Moretti was so willing to include perspectives that diverge sharply from his own."--William Deresiewicz, Nation
Table of Contents
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Franco Moretti: