Reinventions of the Novel

Histories and Aesthetics of a Protean Genre


The history of the Novel is a story of perpetual change, so that its identity still remains open to question. The sixteen articles in Reinventions of the Novel investigate connections, differences and similarities in the Novel around the world for the past three hundred years. Rather than searching for the essence of the genre, they look for the formal and thematic patterns on which the novel thrives, considering such matters as tradition and modernity, realism, rhetoric and identity, tableau and spatiality, and wondering whether epic and avant-garde are not quite contradictory terms. Close readings combined with historical overviews and theoretical discussions open up new constellations in the history of the novel. Untraditional cross-readings are made between Rabelais and Jens Peter Jacobsen and between Balzac and Nicholson Baker. Transformations of traditional modes of epic, biography and Bildung are traced as far as Georges Perec and Günter Grass, while canonical classics like Proust, Joyce, Richardson and Goethe are read in prosaic, pragmatic and media specific contexts. In the 1920s many people predicted the death of the novel; now more than ever it seems to be the dominant literary form – perhaps because it is the same, yet always different.

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Karen-Margrethe Simonsen, Marianne Ping Huang and Mads Rosendahl Thomsen
Tradition and Modernity
Jørn Erslev ANDERSEN: Busts of Silenus. Tradition and modernity in Rabelais and Jacobsen
Kirsten PEDERSEN: How to Recognize a Novel When You See One. A Story about Tristram Shandy and Tristram Shandy’s Story
Svend Erik LARSEN: “Throw Away Your Mind”. On Malcolm Lowry: Under the Volcano
The Scandal of Realism
Frits ANDERSEN: Corpus delicti. Zola’s Nana and André Breton’s Nadja: Siamese Twins in the Body of the Novel
Jens Peter LUND NIELSEN: “The Book” versus the World in Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past
Rolf HEITMANN: The Realism of a Heart. Resistance to Mimetic and Novelistic Representation in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Preface
Søren POLD: Novel Media. On Typographical Consciousness and Marginal Realism in Nicholson Baker
Identity, Dialogism, and Rhetoric
Ole BIRKLUND ANDERSEN: The Letter-writing Culture of the 1700s and the Novel. The familiar letter and the epistolary novel, with special reference to Richardson’s Pamela
Birgit ERIKSSON: Learning to Miscalculate – in Dialogues with Wilhelm Meister
Marie LUND KLUJEFF: The Shades of Tone. The Narrator’s Tone of Voice in Henry James’ The Aspern Papers
Spatiality and Visuality of the Tableau
Frederik TYGSTRUP: The Textual Tableau. Models of Human Space in the Novel
Karen-Margrethe SIMONSEN: The Poetic Microscope, Puzzleimages, Portraits and Other. (In)visibilities in Nathalie Sarraute’s Portrait of a Man Unknown
Novel and Avantgarde
Marianne PING HUANG: Montage and Modern Epic. Transmission between the Avant-garde and the Novel: Alfred Döblin to Günter Grass
Steen KLITGAARD POULSEN: The Hoax that Joke Bilked. On the Connection Between Joyce’s Finnegans Wake and Freud’s Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious
Mads ROSENDAHL THOMSEN: Systemic Reinventions of the Straight Story – the Novel after its Extremes
Rasmus BLOK: I try to recall… A sense of narration in the digital novel – Afternoon, a story