Cover: Selling the Story: Transaction and Narrative Value in Balzac, Dostoevsky, and Zola, from Harvard University PressCover: Selling the Story in HARDCOVER

Selling the Story

Transaction and Narrative Value in Balzac, Dostoevsky, and Zola

Add to Cart

Product Details


$47.00 • £37.95 • €42.50

ISBN 9780674988439

Publication Date: 08/06/2019


336 pages

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


Paine’s survey of these three novelists is masterful… As he depicts them, Balzac, Dostoevsky, and Zola are neither puppets of an inexorable free market nor puppeteers of their readers’ false consciousness. Instead, Paine shows how economic concerns, as one guiding force among many, influenced their creative impulses, but did not—in naive Marxian fashion—overdetermine them… [A] considerable achievement.—Marta Figlerowicz, Public Books

An interesting, well-written consideration of important relationships between authors and their public in the 19th century.Choice

This is a remarkable, pathbreaking book. I found myself consistently challenged and engaged by its arguments. The book is most impressive in its suggestions as to how economic concerns are represented through strictly literary devices. Paine shows how works are shaped by their authors’ position in regard to literary value. He fascinatingly recasts what it means to read The Brothers Karamazov, and offers a genuinely new approach to Dostoevsky, Balzac, and Zola.—Eric Naiman, University of California, Berkeley

Jonathan Paine provides a breath of fresh air for nineteenth-century fiction studies, especially for studies of Dostoevsky.—William Mills Todd III, Harvard University

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Marking the 75th Anniversary of Independence from British Rule

August 14 and August 15 mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of independence from British rule for Pakistan and India, respectively. Inextricably linked to the birth of these two South Asian nations is the 1947 Partition of the subcontinent that tragically accompanied the end of British colonialism.