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From Jane Austen to Joseph Conrad

From Jane Austen to Joseph Conrad

Robert C. Rathburn
Martin Steinmann
CHARLES MURRAH
ALAN D. McKILLOP
DAVID DAICHES
CURTIS DAHL
J. Y. T. GREIG
DOUGLAS BUSH
GEORGE H. FORD
MELVIN R. WATSON
ROBERT B. HEILMAN
YVONNE FRENCH
BRADFORD A. BOOTH
ARTHUR MIZENER
GORDON S. HAIGHT
SUMNER J. FERRIS
WAYNE BURNS
FABIAN GUDAS
JOHN HOLLOWAY
JACOB KORG
WILLIAM VAN O’CONNOR
W. Y. TINDALL
Copyright Date: 1958
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 340
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttswvw
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  • Book Info
    From Jane Austen to Joseph Conrad
    Book Description:

    David Daisches, Douglas Bush, Robert B. Heilman, Arthur Mizener, and William Van O’Connor are among the contributors to this volume of essays on the nineteenth-century British novel. Each of the selections has been written expressly for this book and is published here for the first time. There are a total of 20 essays, each by a different contributor. In addition, Mr. Rathburn, in an introductory essay, relates the nineteenth-century novel to that of the eighteenth century and Mr. Steinmann, in the concluding essay, discusses the nineteenth-century novel in relation to that of the present century. The contributors, in addition to the two editors of the volume, and the novelists they discuss are the following: Charles Murrah, Jane Austen; Alan D Mckillop, Jane Austen; David Dasches, Walter Scott; Curtis Dahl, Edward Bulwer-Lytton; J. Y T. Greig, William Makepeace Thackeray; Douglas Bush, Charles Dickens; George H. Ford, Dickens; Melvin R. Watson, the Brontes; Robert B. Heilman, Charlotte Bronte; Yvonne ffrench, Elizabeth Gaskell; Bradford A. Booth, Anthony Trollope; Aruthur Mizener, Anthony Trollope; Gordon S. Haight, George Eliot; Sumner J. Ferris, George Eliot; Wayne Burns, Charles Reade; Fabian Gudas, George Meredith; John Holloway, Thomas Hardy; Jacob Korg, Geroge Gissing; William Van O’Connor, Samuel Burlter; W. Y. Tindall, Joseph Conrad. Although each essay is focused on a single novel or on one aspect of the novelist, all of them are written to give the reader sense of the novelist’s whole achievement.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6411-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Robert C. Rathburn and Martin Steinmann Jr.
  4. JAMES THEODORE HILLHOUSE
    (pp. ix-x)
    Theodore Hornberger
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-2)
  6. THE MAKERS OF THE BRITISH NOVEL
    (pp. 3-22)
    Robert C. Rathburn

    Although something approaching the modern novel had been written in England and elsewhere before the eighteenth century, it was not until that time that the novel can be said to have been invented, formed, and sent on its way to dominance over all other genres. By the time the century closed, the technical devices of the novel had been invented. Later novelists would perfect them but would not add to them. Many themes for the novel had been set forth, and sub-classes or types of novels had been begun.

    The rise of the novel in the eighteenth century coincided with...

  7. THE BACKGROUND OF MANSFIELD PARK
    (pp. 23-34)
    Charles Murrah

    In commenting on the background of Jane Austen’s novels — what might be called in theatrical terms their sets and props — critics have put heaviest stress on her strict economy in the use of descriptive details, sometimes with regret and apology, sometimes with true Janeite determination to make her reticence in this matter an essential element of all timeless fiction or all great comedy. Those who have offered something more, by way of qualification, have usually been content to point out and overpraise the description of Lyme Regis and its environs inPersuasionor, more recently, to join E....

  8. CRITICAL REALISM IN NORTHANGER ABBEY
    (pp. 35-45)
    Alan D. McKillop

    For the purposes of this discussion we may disregard the fact that Jane Austen’sSusan(the originalNorthanger Abbey) came afterFirst Impressions(the originalPride and Prejudice) and after bothElinor and Marianneand its revision asSense and Sensibility. As it standsNorthanger Abbeymust contain more untouched early work than eitherPride and PrejudiceorSense and Sensibility. The present study considersNorthanger Abbeyas the comprehensive result of Jane Austen’s early reactions to and exercises in prose fiction.

    At the beginning of her career Jane Austen could easily have drawn up an elaborate burlesque “Plan of...

  9. SCOTT’S REDGAUNTLET
    (pp. 46-59)
    David Daiches

    Redgauntletis the novel in which Scott found the most adequate “objective correlative” for his feelings about Scottish history and for that complex attitude toward the relation between tradition and progress which explains so much of the workings of his mind and imagination. In his earlier novels dealing with Scottish history he had explored the relation between heroism and prudence in periods of civil and religious conflict in which noble fanaticism or anachronistic romantic loyalties were challenged by a prudence which sympathized with, yet in the end rejected, outdated patterns of heroic action. His gaze was on the great transitional...

  10. HISTORY ON THE HUSTINGS: BULWER-LYTTON’S HISTORICAL NOVELS OF POLITICS
    (pp. 60-71)
    Curtis Dahl

    “The mode I have adopted,” Edward Bulwer-Lytton boasts in the Preface to the third edition ofHarold, “has perhaps only this merit, that it is my own, — mine by discovery and mine by labour.” He was priding himself on having developed a kind of historical novel different from that of Scott. For he thought Scott, as he had said in an essay “On Art in Fiction,” too much of a “property-man” who “conceives a story with the design of telling it as well as he can, but is wholly insensible to the high and true aim of art, which...

  11. THACKERAY, A NOVELIST BY ACCIDENT
    (pp. 72-81)
    J. Y. T. Greig

    Of the major Victorian novelists who stood high in reputation with both “the common reader” and the established critic at the beginning of this century, Thackeray seems to have fallen farthest in the fifty-odd years since. Although he has a host of admirers still (of whom I count myself one), their admiration is usually qualified. It is doubtful if “the common reader” often gets to the end of any of his novels exceptVanity Fair, Esmond, and perhapsPendennis; and few even of his admirers would now endorse Trollope’s judgments — that Thackeray was “the first of novelists of the...

  12. A NOTE ON DICKENS’ HUMOR
    (pp. 82-91)
    Douglas Bush

    The change in the critical view of Dickens during the past generation has been so marked that even the general reader could hardly miss it, and it has now been placed in its historical sequence in George H. Ford’s scholarly and lively book,Dickens and his Readers(1955). Critics of older generations — both those who gladly surrendered to the magician’s spell and those who remained austerely and somewhat snobbishly censorious — were likely to see an unsophisticated, erratic, inspired genius who gave his enormous public what it wanted: crude melodrama, crude pathos, and humanitarian zeal, a world of evil-doing...

  13. SELF-HELP AND THE HELPLESS IN BLEAK HOUSE
    (pp. 92-105)
    George H. Ford

    In seeking the themes of such novels of social criticism as Dickens’Bleak Houseor of Greene’sThe Quiet American, the reader has the task of understanding (if not of sharing) the whole system of values assumed by the novelist. Mr. Greene seems to make the task of understanding a much more difficult one than Dickens does because he obscures from us which of his characters is supposed to be the hero and which the villain. Dickens kindly spares us this difficulty at least; his villains and heroes are quickly identified by our senses. We know when to hiss against...

  14. FORM AND SUBSTANCE IN THE BRONTË NOVELS
    (pp. 106-117)
    Melvin R. Watson

    For over a hundred years now the Brontë sisters have fascinated and puzzled readers, critics, and even some of the general public. No family with literary pretensions, probably, has been more closely examined than Patrick Brontë and his children, and no house more thoroughly sifted than the Haworth parsonage. Doubtless it was inevitable, human curiosity being what it is, that interest should always have been centered on the personality of the sisters, especially Charlotte and Emily, and the origins of those strangely powerful, but very uneven, novels which they produced. That girls from such sheltered environments could write anything with...

  15. CHARLOTTE BRONTE’S ‘NEW’ GOTHIC
    (pp. 118-132)
    Robert B. Heilman

    In that characteristic flight from cliché that may plunge him into the recherché the critic might well start fromThe Professorand discover in it much more than is implied by the usual dismissal of it as Charlotte Brontë’s poorest work. He might speculate about Charlotte’s singular choice of a male narrator — the value of it, or even the need of it, for her. For through William Crimsworth she lives in Héger, making love to herself as Frances Henri: in this there is a kind of ravenousness, inturning, splitting, and doubling back of feeling. Through Crimsworth she experiences a...

  16. ELIZABETH CLEGHORN GASKELL
    (pp. 133-145)
    Yvonne ffrench

    “I like dearly,” wrote Mrs. Gaskell in 1857 to Charles Eliot Norton, “to call up pictures, — and thoughts suggested by so utterly different a life to Manchester. I believe Iammediaeval — andun-Manchester, and un-American. . . . Now I like a smelling and a singing world. Yes I do. I can’t help it. I like Kings and Queens, and nightingales and mignonette and roses. There!”

    In such playful moments we catch sight of what Elizabeth Gaskell might have demanded from life had her circumstances been different. These, with her talents and her responsibilities, the weight of...

  17. TROLLOPE’S ORLEY FARM: ARTISTRY MANQUÉ
    (pp. 146-159)
    Bradford A. Booth

    I do not know that anyone at all sympathetic to the Victorian novel has ever failed to like Trollope’sOrley Farm. At all events, no unfavorable reaction has been recorded. Trollope thought the plot his best, and when he began to list the well-drawn characters, he could not stop much short of a total roll call. There is not, he says, “a dull page in the book.” Such prideful language, so uncommon for Trollope that it is found nowhere else, is almost, if not quite, justified. On this occasion he had, as Henry James saw, an “admirable subject.” It is...

  18. ANTHONY TROLLOPE: THE PALLISER NOVELS
    (pp. 160-176)
    Arthur Mizener

    In a well-known passage in theAutobiography, Trollope says that he early made up his mind thatPride and Prejudicewas the best novel in the English language, and if he later discovered inIvanhoeandEsmondcompetitors for that title, his original choice still defines the general character of his sensibility. He did not, however, so much write novels as live with characters, and as a consequence, his powers are best seen in groups of books which deal with the same set of characters. It is customary to consider the Barset novels for this purpose, and there is much...

  19. GEORGE ELIOT’S ORIGINALS
    (pp. 177-193)
    Gordon S. Haight

    The passion for realism — as George Eliot defines it, “the faithful representing of commonplace things” — led the Victorians to strive in all the arts for meticulous imitation of original models. With Ruskin’s approval the Pre-Raphaelite painters spent whole weeks rendering in photographic detail a brick wall, a weedy bank, or an old wagon. The novelists fell easily into the habit of transcribing particular scenes and characters from life. Though Dickens boasted of Boythom as “a most exact portrait of Walter Savage Landor,” he seemed surprised that Leigh Hunt was hurt by his equally unmistakable caricature as Skimpole, and...

  20. MIDDLEMARCH, GEORGE ELIOT’S MASTERPIECE
    (pp. 194-207)
    Sumner J. Ferris

    George Eliot’s recent critical popularity, at least since the publication of Virginia Woolf’s essay inThe Common Reader, has been largely the product of a single novel—Middlemarch.Silas Marner,The Mill on the Floss, andAdam Bedehave retained and even increased their popularity; andFelix HoltandDaniel Derondahave lately pleased the wiser sort; but on the whole theconsensus criticorumhas been thatMiddlemarchis George Eliot’s best novel. In this essay I shall attempt simply to reiterate and to justify this common opinion by making some observations on the setting and the characterization ofMiddlemarch,...

  21. CHARLES READE’S CHRISTIE JOHN STONE: A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG PRE-RAPHAELITE
    (pp. 208-221)
    Wayne Burns

    Christie Johnstone(1853) expresses Charles Reade’s own quest for personal and artistic fulfillment. It is hisDavid Copperfield, hisSons and Lovers, hisPortrait of the Artist as a Young Man. And while it does not measure up to any of these novels, it is a work of considerable artistic merit, and one that is crucial to an understanding of Reade’s artistic development. For in his portrait of the artist as Pre-Raphaelite son and lover can be discerned the fear of self-recognition that caused him, in his later writing, to seek refuge from imagination in fact and social purpose.

    Reade...

  22. GEORGE MEREDITH’S ONE OF OUR CONQUERORS
    (pp. 222-233)
    Fabian Gudas

    As a novelist George Meredith considered himself an innovator experimenting with new techniques and subject matters. Instead of giving the public “rose-pink” sentimentalism, “duty drab” realism, or the “blood and glory” novels of action (such was his characterization of certain dominant tendencies in contemporary fiction), he was using the novel as a means for conveying ideas; he was asking his readers to become interested in the thoughts and feelings of his characters rather than in their actions; and he was presenting his materials in a style which required concentration, intellectual agility, and imaginative response if it was to be understood...

  23. HARDY’S MAJOR FICTION
    (pp. 234-245)
    John Holloway

    The deepening and harshening pessimism of Hardy’s later novels has been stressed often enough in the past. All that need be done here is to remind readers of how it is usually located in two particular aspects of his work: first, his “philosophical” asides (“the President of the Immortals, in Aeschylean phrase, had ended his sport with Tess” will be enough in illustration of this familiar story; the phrase itself will need re-examination later); and second, his apparently growing preoccupation with problems of marriage. One should perhaps add that to see this second issue as the product of difficulties in...

  24. THE SPIRITUAL THEME OF GEORGE GISSING’S BORN IN EXILE
    (pp. 246-256)
    Jacob Korg

    In February 1895, George Gissing wrote to Morley Roberts, his friend and future biographer, that he felt his most important contribution as a novelist to have been the depiction of “a class of young men distinctive of our time — well educated, fairly bred, butwithout money.” Gissing’s practice of using characters like these as heroes in his novels has been interpreted as a symptom of egotism, for he had once been such a young man himself. Actually, however, he had good reason for feeling that the poor young intellectual was a key figure in Victorian society. Educated beyond his...

  25. SAMUEL BUTLER AND BLOOMSBURY
    (pp. 257-273)
    William Van O’Connor

    Samuel Butler’s attacks on domestic and parental tyrannies as well as his having poked fun at the Ydgrunites and at the congregations attending the Musical Banks all helped to formulate and to define the twentieth-century break with “Victorianism.” These are the commonplaces of all handbooks on modern English literature. It is also said thatThe Way of All Flesh(1903) prepared the way for Lytton Strachey’sEminent Victorians, hisQueen Victoria, and the progeny that followed these volumes.

    This is not to argue that Butler was the only Victorian who was critical of the mores in which he lived (Meredith,...

  26. APOLOGY FOR MARLOW
    (pp. 274-285)
    W. Y. Tindall

    The trouble with Conrad, indeed, the only trouble, says F. R. Leavis, is Marlow. “Heart of Darkness,” found good by some good critics, is so generally “marred” by Marlow’s adjectives that it sinks into place besideLord Jimamong minor works. In “Youth,” a “cheap insistence” on glamor makes Conrad seem a Kipling of the South Seas, if not worse. It may be that inChanceConrad-Marlow rises above such “shockingly bad magazine stuff” to a kind of technical respectability, but, save for that, stories in which Marlow figures cannot be counted among the major works:Nostromo, Under Western Eyes,...

  27. THE OLD NOVEL AND THE NEW
    (pp. 286-306)
    Martin Steinmann Jr.

    “In a bird’s-eye view of the English novel from Fielding to Ford,” says the late Joseph Warren Beach in a chapter ofThe Twentieth Century Novelentitled “Exit Author,” “the one thing that will impress you more than any other is the disappearance of the author.” The old novel and the new: I deliberately invoke the shade of William Archer so that the error (as I take it) ofThe Old Drama and the New, of exalting (what Archer fancies to be) the disappearance of dramatic conventions, may point a moral. Certainly the disappearance of the author is an important...

  28. Index
    (pp. 307-326)