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About the book
  • Published: 30 April 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446475515
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

The Rise Of The Novel

Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding




A classic and the standard text on the origins of the modern novel.

In this influential study, Ian Watt traces the genesis and development of the most popular of all literary forms, the novel. In his penetrating and original readings of Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding, he investigates the reasons why the three main eighteenth-century novelist wrote in the way they did - a way resulting ultimately in the modern novel of the present day.

The rise of the middle classes and of economic individualism, the philosophical innovations of the seventeenth century, complex changes in the social position of women: these are some of the factors underlying an age which produced the authors of Robinson Crusoe, Pamela and Tom Jones.

  • Pub date: 30 April 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446475515
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the Author

Ian Watt

Ian Watt (1917-99) was a Professor of Humanities at Stanford University. During the Second World War he worked as a prisoner on the construction of the notorious Burma Railway before turning to the study of English literature. The Rise of the Novel (1957) was the first of a dozen books he wrote and is widely regarded as the seminal work in the study of the novel. His other books include Conrad in the Nineteenth Century (1979), Conrad: Nostromo (1988) and Myths of Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan and Robinson Crusoe (1998).


Praise for The Rise Of The Novel

“A major contribution to the subject, in some respects the most brilliant that has appeared...Every page of Dr Watt's admirably written book repays study, as enlivening and enriching as the works themselves”

Times Educational Supplement

“An important, compendious work of inquiring scholarship...alive with ideas...An academic critic who in lively and suggestive detail is able to assemble round his novelists the ideas and facts among which they worked”

V.S. Pritchett, New Statesman


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