Bad Form: Social Mistakes and the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Paperback | January 15, 2013

byKent Puckett

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What - other than embarrassment - could one hope to gain from prolonged exposure to the social mistake? Why think much about what many would like simply to forget? In Bad Form: Social Mistakes and the Nineteenth-Century Novel, Kent Puckett argues that whatever its awkwardness, the socialmistake-the blunder, the gaffe, the faux pas-is a figure of critical importance to the nineteenth-century novel. While offering significant new readings of Thackeray, Flaubert, Eliot, James, and others, Puckett shows how the classic realist novel achieves its coherence thanks to minor mistakes thatnovels both represent and make. While uncovering the nineteenth-century novel's persistent social and structural reliance on the non-catastrophic mistake-eating peas with your knife, saying the wrong thing, overdressing-Bad Form argues that the novel's once considerable cultural authority depends on what we might otherwise thinkof as that authority's opposite: a jittery, anxious, obsessive attention to the mistakes of others that is its own kind of bad form. Drawing on sociology, psychoanalysis, narrative theory, and the period's large literature on etiquette, Puckett demonstrates that the nineteenth-century novel reliesfor its form on the paradoxical force of the social mistake.

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What - other than embarrassment - could one hope to gain from prolonged exposure to the social mistake? Why think much about what many would like simply to forget? In Bad Form: Social Mistakes and the Nineteenth-Century Novel, Kent Puckett argues that whatever its awkwardness, the socialmistake-the blunder, the gaffe, the faux pas-is a...

Kent Puckett is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

other books by Kent Puckett

Narrative Theory: A Critical Introduction
Narrative Theory: A Critical Introduction

Kobo ebook|Nov 30 2016

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:January 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199948534

ISBN - 13:9780199948536

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Table of Contents

Preface: Making Mistakes1. Some Blunders, an Introduction to Bad Form2. Embarrassing Conventions, Embarrassing Bovary3. Looking Good: Style and Reality in George Eliot4. Hanging Together in Henry JamesAfterword: "j'ai envie d'foutre le camp"Works CitedIndex