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Volume :3 Issue : 11 1983      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Aesthetics Of The English Novel (in Arabic)

Auther : Samir Elbarbary

The English novel is a comparatively new genre, it remained for nearly 150 years a distinct genre but without its own aesthetics. In the nineteenth century and since, it has asserted its place in the hierarchy of genres after the long-term dominance of poetry and drama. Novel aesthetics originated in the avant-grade and seminal Prefaces and Notebooks of Henry James. The article attempts to trace the main lines of development in novel criticism since James and establishes a number of points about the subject. Classics of novel theory may be divided into two group: those which assert the primacy of the imitative principle, and those which emphasize the autonomy of the work – its formal qualities. There is a shift of theoretical perspective from one central critic to another. The thesis is that whereas with James. Lawrence, Forster, Leavis and Booth the balance seems tilted toward the importance of a work’s mimetic (or moral) quality, lubbockand Schorer would seem to lean toward the primacy of technical aspects. According to James the only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to represent life. he also insists on limitation of point of view to a perceiving intelligence which is an accurate guide to his own practice. Although there is much to tie Lubbock with James as he derived many of his insights from him, the differences between the two are not overlooked. To justify the importance of the novel, Lawrence claims that it is “the one bright book of life”. Typical of her period, Virginia Wolf argues against the simple realism of surface detail and makes a case for the rendition of depths of private consciousness. As a novel critic Forster’s claims rest largely on his prescription of the five coordinates of the novel. The distinction between “flat and round characters” explains his lasting appeal. Leaves grounded his argument in two points: the identification of the novel with morality and that great novels present an affirmation and criticism of life. Booth restores importance to the author’s voice by dismantling Lubbock’s notion of “Exit author”. The two take diametrically opposed views. Schorer reasons that the content is inseparable from technique and he asserts that “technique is the only means (the novelist) has of discovering, exploring, developing his subject, of conveying its meaning, and finally, of evaluating it”. The concept underlying Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism is the close connection between literary texts and oral myths, and that the romance, confession, and anatomy merge with novel – which weaves forms of imaginative prose into a pattern.

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