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Ideas Critique on Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel - Assignment Example

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In "The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding" published in The Theory of the Novel:A Historical Approach,the literary critic and professor Ian Watt analyses novel as a new literary form;how works from Defoe, Richardson,and Fielding can be differed from past prose works from Greece,seventeenth century France,and Middle Ages…
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Ideas Critique on Ian Watts The Rise of the Novel
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"Ideas Critique on Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel"

Download file to see previous pages Firstly, Watt investigates the characteristics of the novel and the realism; he argues that realism tries to show several sides of human experience related to the external world. Watt explains Descartes point of view of the realism by defining the truth as an individual matter, which makes novel reflect individualism and innovation compared to previous literary works. Secondly, according to Watt there are no traditional plots in novels; Richardson and Defoe were the first writers to ignore a plot based on mythology or history for example, which at that time was different from authors with traditional plots such as Shakespeare or Milton. Furthermore, he describes the importance of the description in the narrative; in order to make the novel realistic as possible; the author needs to be capable of accomplishing a concrete demonstration of characterization, present a cohesive background and to be attentive to the individualization of the characters. Thirdly, he explains that before the realism, names were used in a non- particular way, and the novel establishes names as common names that can also indicate information about a character. He also argues about the role of the time, space, and place to individualize each character; how they create a cohesive structure to a plot, also the correlation between representation and reality. Finally, Watt explains the semantic role of the narrative, how the prose style gives a completely authenticity to the realistic novel. This piece of writing by Watt is quite illuminating in the sense that it records the development of novel as a separate entity from earlier prose that did not center on individualism. Rather they provided an objective view of the situation. The presentation and ideas of Watt offer a deep understanding of how the novel emerged and how the attitudes and society were changing to give birth to a new literary form- the novel. However, the ideas presented by Watt are just an initial study of how the novel developed since Watt does not include certain aspects of the development of novel or rather he misjudges the chronology of events. In my opinion, the presentation developed by Watt takes into account a myriad of changes occurring in the society. Watt takes into account the changing attitude of the people which was more attuned to realism and changed from a God centric view to a human centric view. Along with this, Watt also discusses how the printing press and changing London society supported the rise of novels. What makes Watt’s work authentic is the fact that Watt backs up his claims by repeatedly consulting with three different authors- Richardson, Fielding and Defoe. He not just refers to their writings but also the evaluation of their writings. He focuses more on Richardson, given that Richardson was among the pioneers of the novels and it was his novel that later inspired other novels developed not just during that time but also quite later on. According to Watt, a literary piece of writing cannot exist without taking into account the cultural and intellectual factors that shape the society when a particular piece is produced. The novel in this case, falls into the same dimensions. The rise of novel occurred when the society in England was changing towards realism, that is, it was becoming more individualistic. Gone were the days when the characters in the piece were presented for the benefit of the audience. For instance, in plays the character obscured into the unknown when they were not present on the stage or in a particular scene (Watt, 442). However, in a novel, the readers become ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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