The Technology of the Novel
Writing and Narrative in British Fiction
Jackson's analysis begins with the universal human act of oral storytelling. While telling stories is fundamental to human experience, writing is not. Yet the novel, perhaps more than any other literary form, depends on writing. In fact, as Jackson shows quite clearly, it is writing rather than print that most shapes the forms and contents of the genre.
Through striking new readings of works by Austen, Mary Shelley, Dickens, Forster, Woolf, Lessing, and McEwan, Jackson reveals how the phenomena of speech and storytelling interact with the technological characteristics of writing. He also explains how those interactions induced the generic changes in the novel from its eighteenth-century beginnings to postmodernism and beyond. His claims, grounded in a contemporary understanding of human cognitive capacities and constraints, offer a fresh interpretive approach to all written literature.
An essential text in the study of the written word, The Technology of the Novel provides new insights into the evolving nature of one of the modern world's most popular narrative forms.
About the Author
"Jackson's book is splendid. Discussions of general issues and specific texts are lucid and complex. He always acknowledges that the novels he deals with have other concerns besides orality and writing. He stresses that critiques of alphabetic narrative are only possible within written texts. He sees canonical texts in a fresh light; one wants to test his arguments against other novels."—Times Literary Supplement
"A valuable reflection on the way writing shapes narrative. . . A pleasure to read."—Chris R. Vanden Bossche, Modern Philology
"This ambitious book stakes out its turf in the same patch of ground where Auerbach pitched the big tent of Mimesis, and, like Mimesis, it provides a way of seeing afresh a set of canonical works."—Suzanne Keen, Washington and Lee University
|The Johns Hopkins University Press|
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