Cover: Theory of the Novel, from Harvard University PressCover: Theory of the Novel in HARDCOVER

Theory of the Novel

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$43.50 • £34.95 • €39.00

ISBN 9780674333727

Publication Date: 01/02/2017


408 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 line illustration


Mazzoni not only has an encyclopedic knowledge of both the novel and the theory of the novel at his command, but, moreover, possesses a gift for analysis and clarity: Theory of the Novel is probably the sharpest philosophical treatment of the novel since Lukács’s Theory of the Novel (1914–1916). In the past two decades, [other] books…have given us important historical and theoretical tools for understanding the genre. Mazzoni’s study stands out as a masterpiece of literary criticism, which makes use of these tools in order to fashion a wholly new concept of the novel, its origins, and its development. Beyond being a pleasurable read, Mazzoni’s book is a paragon of scholarship, which will give its readers a deeper appreciation of fictional worlds born of life itself.—Alberto Comparini, Los Angeles Review of Books

Mazzoni offers an excellent history of the form… His account of the major shifts in the evolution of the form itself makes for a good history of the novel, and its rise in significance and stature is convincingly explained… Mazzoni leads the readers to a better understanding of how the novel became what it is, and why it has and continues to enjoy such success.—M. A. Orthofer, Complete Review

Guido Mazzoni’s book offers us one of the most profound and far-reaching reflections on the novel since the influential works of Georg Lukács and Frederic Jameson. Blending a persuasive theory of fiction with an innovative history of the genre, Mazzoni proposes convincing answers to virtually all questions raised by these topics. Incredibly learned and reader-friendly, this book is a true classic.—Thomas Pavel, University of Chicago

Mazzoni’s wide range of materials and time, together, make Theory of the Novel a fascinating read. As I read it, I thought often that I would like to assign it to my students, or propose it to someone from a field other than literature as an excellent example of what literature, and literary theory, can do.—Laura Wittman, Stanford University

This is a magnificent theorization of the novel as a phenomenon of literary and cultural history: the novel as the most complete instantiation of what philosophy objected to in literary representation, and literature’s most complete refutation of that objection. In making the case for the novel, it makes the case for modernity itself: multiple, changing, democratic, imperfect. This book is destined to be a classic.—David Quint, Yale University

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