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Original Subjects

Original Subjects

The Child, the Novel, and the Nation

Ala Alryyes

ISBN 9780674002630

Publication date: 08/15/2001

Original Subjects explores the interweaving of the child-hero and the fortunes of a nation as these are portrayed in a wide selection of novels and national narratives in the French and English traditions. Ala Alryyes examines how these works deploy similar metaphors and signifying narratives in which a homeless child is central.

Taking up such disparate writers and novelists as Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Defoe, Richardson, Diderot, Scott, Stendhal, Balzac, and Disraeli, as well as Homer, St. Augustine, and Hannah Arendt, this book argues that the generational parent–child dynamic is key to understanding the structure of novels, the theory of the state, and the events of history.


  • Ala Alryyes is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Yale University.

Book Details

  • 240 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Department of Comparative Literature