The Rise of The Novel The novel is the most important gift of bourgeois, or capitalist, civilization to the world's imaginative culture.
The modern European novel began after the Renaissance, with Cervantes's "Don Quixote"堂·吉诃德(1605-1615). The modern English novel began two centuries later, in the 18th c.. The rise and growth of the realistic novel is the most prominent achievement of 18th c. English literature, which has given the world such novelists as Defoe, Swift, Richardson, Fielding, Smollett and Sterne.
"The 18th century was the golden age of the English novel. The novel of this period … spoke the truth about life with an uncompromising courage." The novelists of this period understood that "the job of a novelist was to tell the truth about life as he saw it." This explains the achievement of the English novel in the 18th century.
Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" was one of the forerunners of the English realistic novel, which won him the title of “father of the English novel”. It creates the image of an enterprising Englishman, typical of the English bourgeoisie of the 18th century.
Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) English novelist, pamphleteer, and journalist; the founder/father of the English novel.
Daniel Defoe’s Life Born in 1660 as the son of James Foe, a butcher.In 1683/4, married Mary Tuffley and established himself as a hosiery merchant. Himself a dissenter, published pamphlets satirizing the oppression of dissenters; thus fined, imprisoned in 1703 from May to Nov. and pilloried.Failed in all the business he tried.Saved by Harley, a Tory politician; and employed as a secret agent between 1703 and 1704.In 1704, began the Review.
Writing style simple, straightforward ,the plot is very simple,the characterization is not totally satisfactory.
Features of Defoe’s Novels Defoe is remembered chiefly, for his novels. The central idea of his novels is that man is good and noble by nature but may succumb to an evil social environment. The writer wants to make it clear that society is the source of various crimes and vices. Defoe’s intention is that the readers should regard his novels as true stories. For that reason, he deliberately avoids all art; all fine writing, so that the reader should concentrate only on a series of plausible events. Defoe’s novels all take the form of memories or pretended historical narratives, everything in them gives the impression of reality.
The Main Theme of His Works: His writing reveals his real concern for his time: man’s struggle against his natural and social environment, for survival and expansionHis rest novels deal with the personal history of some hero and heroine, usually a whore, a pirate, a pickpocket, a rogue or some other criminal. The all-powerful influence of material circumstances or social environment upon the thoughts and actions of the hero or the heroine is highlighted.
Robinson Crusoe: Comments As for “class”1. It is first and foremost a middle class book, offering justifications for the class’s forthcoming rise to pre-dominance in national life.2. Middle class values are steadily becoming dominant in social life, such as its emphasis on temperance and self-reliance, etc.3. Robinson is in a very serious sense the prototype of the aggressive British beginning to envision the blueprint for the British empire.
As for “religion”This book is a typical Puritan tale. Robinson detests comforts, opts for adventure and rebels in youth against his father’s beliefs. This is typical show of Puritan individualism.He never gives up in life but always feels confident about creating a life for himself. This is an illustration of the Puritan spirit of self-reliance and self-sustaining.He discovers God for himself, and affirms his faith with which he now begins anew his effort in improving his life on a right track.
As for “Its Eternity”Its permanent appeal to readers of all generations stems from the fact that it is in essence a success story.The trapped person tries to struggle out of the mire of despond and bring sunlight into his world: initial suffering and despair, plucking up the courage to face adversity, and taking sane, effective steps to address the problem.Robinson is a specimen of the ordinary mankind, bodying forth the sum total of the perseverance and indomitableness of the human spirit.
SAMUEL RICHARDSON (1689-1761) Biography
Quotations A beautiful woman must expect to be more accountable for her steps, than one less attractive. Samuel Richardson A good man, though he will value his own countrymen, yet will think as highly of the worthy men of every nation under the sun. Samuel Richardson A husband's mother and his wife had generally better be visitors than inmates. Samuel Richardson
Samuel Richardson was an 18th-century English epistolary novelist who is sometimes credited with having written the first true novel to come out of England. He spent nearly his whole life in the London area, growing up as the son of a joiner (a trade related to carpentry that no longer exists) and having a successful career as a printer before turning to writing novels at age 51. He was noted for his social conservatism and strong literary focus on traditional women, and for most of his life he was deeply enmeshed in politics.
His life Richardson was born on August 19, 1689 to a father who worked in the skilled trades. Little is known about his early life because records were not well kept and Richardson was always secretive about it. His family originally lived in London, but, because his father made a bad political alliance with the Duke of Monmouth, the family was forced to move to Derbyshire.
Education chardson attended a grammar school where it's likely that he was taught only reading and arithmetic. His father wanted him to become a clergyman, but the family didn't have the money to pay for school, so, in 1706, the 17-year-old Richardson became apprenticed to a printer.Over the next few years, Richardson's printer career progressed, making him a master printer with his own shop and apprentices by 1719. He printed more than 2,000 individual works, including books, newspapers, and the official record of the House of Commons. His shop also printed the novels he eventually wrote. After his death, his lucrative printing business was inherited by a second nephew, who quickly ran it into the ground, so that it closed only a couple of years after Richardson died.
Richardson showed a talent for writing as early as age 11, when he began composing responses to love letters received by his female classmates. One letter he wrote on his own behalf at age 13 to a highly critical older woman won him some notoriety. As a novelist he favored the epistolary form, which is when a novel consists of a collection of letters. He wrote his first novel in 1740. The novel, called "Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded," won him a reputation as an exceptional writer. From then until his death 21 years later, he produced about a dozen works of book-length fiction and nonfiction, which were received with various levels of enthusiasm, but won him many friends in English political and literary circles.
Richardson was a staunch social conservative, and his writings reflect it. The protagonists of his novels, always female, tended to be women who were traditional in their outlook and behavior for the time, and in his nonfiction writings he extolled the preservation of traditional social morals. One of his earlier books touted the trades apprentice as the backbone of proper society.Among Richardson's political friends were a Speaker of the House of Commons. Among his literary friends were the young Samuel Johnson, to whom Richardson gifted a large sum of money in response to a request to help pay off a debt.
Partly because of a strict vegetarian diet that consisted of eating small amounts of food and drinking too much water, Richardson developed neurological problems that would eventually kill him. In the last years of his life he was unable to read because of hand and head tremors. He died on July 4, 1761, in London.
Interesting facts Samuel Richardson wrote the longest novel in the English language, Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady—about 1 million words. He is known to be the first English modern novelist, and was the first English writer whose main characters were women, not men. Clarissa was published in 1748. It is an epistolary novel—composed entirely of letters written by the characters. These letters reveal plot, conflict, characterization, and themes of the novel. The story is of Clarissa and the young man Lovelace whose desperation to marry Clarissa and not her sister compels him to abduct her hoping she’ll consent to marry him. It is a story of love, abduction, rape, revenge written in what many consider to be endless, tedious letters.
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