A bold new vision of the modern English novel
The leading critic Francis Mulhern uncovers a hidden history in the English novel and demonstrates its intimate, formative association with the course of the British labor movement, from its rise in the early twentieth century to the years of decline from the 1980s onwards. In this striking reconstruction, culture emerges as a stake in social conflict, above all that of classes; the narrative evaluations of culture's ends—the aspirations and destinies of those whose lives are the matter of its fictions—grow steadily darker as time passes. Readings of classic and contemporary novelists from Hardy and Forster to Amis, Kureishi and Smith, among others, illuminate the forms and narrative logics of the genre that Mulhern terms the “condition of culture novel,” and places it in international context.Tuesday Intros and Teaser Tuesdays are hosted by Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea and MizB over at A Daily Rhythm, respectively. These quotes are from an uncorrected proof so may be different in the finalized copy.
(from the first chapter, rather than the introduction)
'1. Imagining Other Lives
The 'condition of culture'-novel is not one I'm very familiar with but, strangely enough, I've read a lot of books which could be considered to fall in this category. I like that education is such a big part of describing and assessing culture.
'Two large questions govern the narrative of Brideshead Revisited. The first is the generic question of the Bildungsroman as such: what will become of young Charles Ryder? The second, which begins from quite distinct assumptions and has far wider significance but nevertheless becomes for a time a version of the first, is: what will become of Brideshead, the house and the line?' p.54I still haven't read Brideshead Revisited, which has been on one of my 'English Classics I should read' lists for quite some time. I think that reading about it might be the trigger I need to get myself to finally read it.
So, does Figures of Catastrophe sound like a book you'd be interested in? Do you enjoy reading non-fiction?