Fifty years on from Ian Watt’s pioneering study, The Rise of the novel, Jenny Mander brings together the work of bibliographers, literary scholars and socio-cultural historians to present a new European perspective on the development of the genre. Remapping the rise of the European novel investigates how prose fiction between 1500 and 1800 was simultaneously shaped by the development of the nation-state and by multiple crossings of geographical, cultural and linguistic boundaries.
Drawing on evidence from France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Greece, as well as England, authors argue for a more inclusive history that identifies origins in different times and places, and trace how they interact or diverge.
Through detailed case studies and bibliometric analyses, the authors explore the importance of continental and colonial travel in fashioning early-modern novelistic discourse, and examine how translation helps to disseminate ‘novel’ fictions. Discussion of popularity and pleasure – topics often excluded from traditional histories of the novel– sheds new light on the ways we think about the relationship between literary and social history.
'After reading this excellent book, scholars will feel that they have considerably broadened their knowledge of European literature.'
'Jenny Mander sees her volume “only” as a kind of starting point on a voyage of discovery, providing several striking individual observations and raising a number of new questions. But it seems to me that one of its important conclusions is that translations may have played a larger role in the emergence of the modern European novel than previously thought.'
Zeitschrift für französische Sprache und Literatur, 122/1