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.
“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