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The English Novel: An Introduction Paperback – 23 Jul 2004
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"Eagleton′s presentation of the history of the novel is admirably clear and almost entirely free of the disfiguring jargon so relied upon by theorists and bamboozlers."
The Irish Independentà
"Eagleton, almost alone among academic literary critics of his generation, has never been afraid of asking big questions about big things. In The English Novel: An Introduction he takes aim at a very large target indeed. Being Eagleton (the most articulately and discriminately ideological critic of our time) he does, of course, do much more than merely ′introduce′. He makes sense of the English novel."
John Sutherland, Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature, UCL
From the Back Cover
This book provides a wide–ranging, accessible and humorous introduction to the English novel from Daniel Defoe to the present day.
Following the model of his hugely popular Literary Theory: An Introduction, Terry Eagleton starts by distilling the essentials of the theory of the novel, summarizing what has been written on the genre by a range of prominent theorists. There then follows a series of chapters on major novelists, including Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, Laurence Sterne, Walter Scott, Jane Austen, the Brontës, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence and James Joyce. Each chapter discusses the major works of the author in question, outlines the relevant historical context, and draws out common themes.The English Novel is an ideal introduction for students of English literature or for general readers.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Still, what he has to say about the major British novelists needs to be qualified paragraph by paragraph.
Since this book was published, Eagleton seems to have become a sort of academic turned popularizer, much like Harold Bloom. He's gone from "advanced" criticism to "beginner" books, which is a nice way for a prof to make a living, but not of much interest to serious students of the subject.
Eagleton's book is not for the novice unfamiliar with the works he discusses. The book would serve well in a college course on English literature. As an English major and lifelong reader of English Literature I would recommend the book highly.