The Historical Novel in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Representations of Reality in History and Fiction

Paperback | April 22, 2015

byBrian Hamnett

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Even at the height of its popularity in the early nineteenth century the historical novel faced criticism at many levels. After its predominance in the 1810s and 1820s writers and historians shunned it as a travesty of their respective disciplines. Even so, the historical novel has frequentlyattracted a wide-ranging public right up to the present day. Brian Hamnett examines key novels, by authors including Scott, Balzac, Manzoni, Dickens, Eliot, Flaubert, Fontane, Galdos, and Tolstoy, revealing the contradictions inherent in this form of fiction and exposing the challenges writers facedin attempting to represent a reality that linked past and present. He argues that the historical novel in the nineteenth century was a common European phenomenon with considerable interconnection of themes and periods. Accordingly, the book ranges from the British Isles and France through the Germanic territories, Italy and Spain, to the Russian Empire, identifying the different objectives and phases of the historical novel. Although historical novels did appear in the two previous centuries, the form came tomaturity in the nineteenth century, a consequence of the developing nature of history as a discipline distinct from literature and nhilosophy, and the increasing primacy of the novel for writers and the reading public. Yet, the frontiers between history and literature remained blurred, and the twodisciplines continued to influence one another as each sought a faithful representation of human experience.

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Even at the height of its popularity in the early nineteenth century the historical novel faced criticism at many levels. After its predominance in the 1810s and 1820s writers and historians shunned it as a travesty of their respective disciplines. Even so, the historical novel has frequentlyattracted a wide-ranging public right up to ...

Brian Hamnett was born in Colchester 1942. He studied at Peterhouse, Cambridge University from 1961 to 1967. He has taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the University of Reading, and the University of Strathclyde. He is currently a Research Professor in the Department of History at the University of Essex. His f...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.07 inPublished:April 22, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198732414

ISBN - 13:9780198732419

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroductionPART ONE THE HISTORICAL NOVEL AS GENRE AND PROBLEM: AN ANALYTICAL AND CRITICAL EXAMINATION1. An Exploration of the Categories: History, Narrative, the Novel and Romance2. History and Fiction: The Trials of Separation and Reunion3. The German Sturm und Drang, Historical Drama, and Early Romantic Fiction4. Scottish Flowering: Turbulence or Enlightenment5. Romanticism and the Historical Novel6. The Historians' Response to the Historical Novel7. History and Invention in the Italian QuestionPART TWO INTERNAL CONTRADICTIONS AND UNSTABLE FORM: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE HISTORICAL NOVEL'S DILEMMA1. The Historical Novel at mid-Century Crisis?2. Is there a Way out? Two Experiments in Myth and History3. Galdos and the Novel of Spanish National Identity4. The Struggle for Identity and Purpose in the Russian Historical Novel: From Pushkin to Tolstoy5. The German Historical Novel6. Modernism and BeyondFictitious HistoriesSources and Bibliography