Narrative Machine : The Naturalist, Modernist, and Postmodernist Novel book cover
1st Edition

Narrative Machine
The Naturalist, Modernist, and Postmodernist Novel

ISBN 9780367664022
Published September 30, 2020 by Routledge
268 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $49.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Narrative Machine: The Naturalist, Modernist, and Postmodernist Novel advances a new history of the novel, identifying a crucial link between narrative innovation and the historical process of mechanization. In the late nineteenth century, the novel grapples with a new and increasingly acute problem: In its attempt to represent the colossal power of modern machinery—the steam-driven machines of the Industrial Revolution, the electrical machines of the modern city, and the atomic and digital machines developed after the Second World War—it encounters the limitations of traditional representative strategies. Beginning in the naturalist novel, the machine is typically portrayed as a mythic monster, and though that monster represents a potentially horrific reality—the superhuman power of mechanization—it also disrupts the documentary objectives of narrative realism (the dominant mode of nineteenth-century fiction). The mechanical monster, realistic and yet at odds with traditional realist strategies, tears the form of the novel apart. In doing so, it unleashes a series of innovations that disclose, critique, and contest the force of mechanization: the innovations associated with literary naturalism, modernism, and postmodernism.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Part 1. Naturalism and the Mechanical Monster  Chapter 1: Zola’s monster machines  Chapter 2: Mechanical monsters in England and America  Chapter 3: The machined aesthetics of Dreiser, Crane, Moore, Wharton, and Gissing  Part 2. Modernism versus the Machine  Chapter 4: Lawrence and the monster machine  Chapter 5: Joyce’s utopian machine  Chapter 6: Against the quotidian machine: Woolf, Hemingway, and Proust  Part 3. Postmodernism: Living with the Machine  Chapter 7: The new sunshine: Ballard, Vonnegut, and Dick  Chapter 8: The digital and atomic plots of Pynchon and DeLillo  Chapter 9: The machinery of liberation: Georges Perec

View More



Zena Meadowsong is an Associate Professor of English at Rowan University, USA.