The Domain of the Novel Reflections on Some Historical Definitions
The Domain of the Novel: Reflections on Some Historical Definitions discusses the genre of the novel and its dialogic and dialectical characteristics through an in-depth analysis of some classic English, Russian, American and Indian novels. A collection of lectures by the distinguished scholar of literature, A. N. Kaul, it analyses the exploration of personal voices and histories within a larger socio-political landscape in these works.
Drawing examples from the works of Fielding, George Eliot, Dickens, Thackeray, Melville, Hawthorne, Twain, R.K. Narayan and others, who defined and redefined the territories of the novel, this book examines the articulation of the lived social, political and material realities of ordinary individuals in this genre. The lectures situate the novels within their cultural, socio-political, and historical contexts while focusing on their historical continuity and relevance. They further demonstrate how the domain of the novel brings together a multitude of voices while discussing conflicts of class, identity, nationalism, and historiography.
The volume includes an insightful critical introduction by Sambudha Sen. It will be of great interest to researchers and scholars of literature, cultural studies, post-colonial studies, literary theory, creative writing, history, and sociology. It will be especially useful for readers interested in studying forms of fiction and the 18th, 19th, and 20th century novel.
Foreword by Mythili Kaul. Introduction by Sambudha Sen. 1. ‘A New Province of Writing’ 2. Nationality and the Novel 3. Ideology and the Novel 4. ‘What is Past, or Passing, or to Come:’ Hawthorne and the Idea of Historical Continuity. Index.
‘Professor A.N. Kaul’s essays are deeply-informed, wide-ranging critiques of novelistic practices, as well as of critical approaches to them. They represent Professor Kaul at his humane, insightful, sparkling best, and this volume is a wonderful testimonial to his legendary pedagogy.’ — Suvir Kaul, A. M. Rosenthal Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
‘These four posthumous essays by Professor A.N. Kaul constitute a treasure-trove of immensely important reflections on the formation of the novel. They traverse early novels and their self-understandings across several continents and centuries maintaining the integrity of each while effortlessly weaving diverse contexts and works into a unified literary realm. The essays bring together the individual/domestic and the political/ideological that went into the novel’s making in different ways and with different meanings. They also trace their genesis in, and overlaps with, other literary and discursive Genres. The luminous prose of the essays recalls the best of the novelists.’ — Tanika Sarkar, Retired Professor, Modern History, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
‘The previously unpublished essays of A. N. Kaul are like gifts from one of the most insightful, imaginative, and distinctive interpreters of Hawthorne and his generation. Reading these thoughtful essays is like being freed from chilly and disenchanted days by a warm, optimistic, and consistently incisive critic whose lyrical writing and generous intelligence represents the best of a classic era of American literary criticism. Accessible and fascinating, these essays will charm and enlighten any enthusiast of fiction from a wide range of periods and places.’ — Christopher Castiglia, author of The Practices of Hope: Literary Criticism in Disenchanted Times, Distinguished Professor of English, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania