Novel: The word novel is used in the broadest sense to name any extended fictional narrative almost always in prose.
Why do we read Novels? • The first question to ask about fiction is: Why bother to read it? With life as short as it is, with so many pressing demands on our time, with books of information, instruction, and discussion, why would we spend precious time on works of imagination?!!
Historical & Cultural Background: • 1)When the novel first appeared on the literary scene in the 18th century England, its special feature was its Realism. Unlike poetry, which was aimed at the court and the higher classes, novels were written for the practical-minded, realistic middle-class public. Middle-class readers wanted stories about their own, down-to-earth style of life.
So….. • 2)The early novelists, were middle-class men. In these conditions the novel started its career as a reflection of middle-class life, and its distinctive characteristic was its social realism.
3) It was influenced by the great seventeenth-century philosophers, Descartes and Locke, who insisted upon the importance of individual experience. They believed that reality could be discovered by the individual through the senses. Thus, the novel emphasized specific, observed details.
Realism • Realism is an aesthetic mode which broke with the classical demands of art to show life "as it is." The work of realistic art tends to depict the average, the commonplace, the middle classes and their daily struggle. • Example: Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe 1719) and Samuel Richardson (Pamela, 1740). They claimed their novels were ‘true stories” based on facts, and their readers eagerly accepted them as such.
Cover for 1741 edition of Samuel Richardson's "Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded" (1740).
Social Realism: • Social Realism, also known as Socio-Realism, is an artistic movement, expressed in the visual and other realist arts, which depicts social and racial injustice, economic hardship, through unvarnished pictures of life's struggles; often depicting working class activities as heroic. The movement depicted typically detailed scenes of life and society.
Portrait shows Florence Thompson with several of her children in a photograph known as "Migrant Mother". The Library of Congress caption reads: "Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California." In the 1930s, the FSA employed several photographers to document the effects of the Great Depression on the population
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