This collection analyzes how narrative technique developed from the late Middle Ages to the beginning of the 18th century. Taking Chaucer’s influential Middle English works as the starting point, the original essays in this volume explore diverse aspects of the formation of early modern prose narratives. Essays focus on how a sense of selfness or subjectivity begins to establish itself in various narratives, thus providing a necessary requirement for the individuality that dominates later novels. Other contributors investigate how forms of intertextuality inscribe early modern prose within previous traditions of literary writing. A group of chapters presents the process of genre-making as taking place both within the confines of the texts proper, but also within paratextual features and through the rationale behind cataloguing systems.
A final group of essays takes the implicit notion of the growing realism of early modern prose narrative to task by investigating the various social discourses that feature ever more strongly within the social, commercial, or religious dimensions of those texts. The book addresses a wide range of literary figures such as Chaucer, Wroth, Greene, Sidney, Deloney, Pepys, Behn, and Defoe. Written by an international group of scholars, it investigates the transformations of narrative form from medieval times through the Renaissance and the early modern period, and into the eighteenth century.
Selected Contents: Introduction, Ebbe Klitgård and Gerd Bayer Part 1: The Growing Sense of Self 1. The Encoding of Subjectivity in Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Tale and Pardoner’s Tale, Ebbe Klitgård 2. The Representation of Thought from Chaucer to Aphra Behn, Monika Fludernik 3. Writing Selves: Early Modern Life Writing and the Genesis of the Novel, Miriam Nandi Part 2: The Force of Intertextuality 4. Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls and His Pre-Text of Narration,William Quinn, William Quinn 5. From Hell: A Mirror for Magistrates and the Late Elizabethan Female Complaint, Anna Swärdh 6. Telling Tales: the Artistry of Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania, Rahel Orgis 7. The Early English Novel in Antwerp: The Impact of Jan van Doesborch, Robert Maslen Part 3: The Consolidation of Genre 8. Narrative and Poesis: Defoe, Ovid, and Transformative Writing, Gabrielle Starr 9. The Prenovel: Theory and the Archive, Goran Stanivukovic 10. Paratext and Genre: Making Seventeenth-Century Readers, Gerd Bayer Part 4: The Presence of Social Discourses 11. Narrative and Gossip in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, Neil Cartlidge 12. Transubstantiation, Transvestism, and the Transformative Power of Elizabethan Prose Fiction, Christina Wald