“Nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well.” – Lord Mulgrave
Today, I had my first 18th Century Literature lecture. Despite being a ‘huge fan’ of the (literary.) novel, I have never quite pondered the significance or why the novel is a.. well, a novel.
The “novel”, no doubt, derives from the word “novel”. A new idea. A new concept. (Who would have thought?). The beauty of 18th Century Literature that appeals to me so much would be the language and organised, yet deep, plot that delves underneath the onion-like layers of the common man.
Interestingly, the rise of the novel is particularly denoted by titular heroes (as quoted from my lecturer) ie. Robinson Crusoe, Pamela and the like. They appeal to the individual self and life. This is rather ironic as by focusing the spotlight on ONE character it becomes (or is already) the common malady of Man himself.
The reason we have the novel today. The reason for my frequent trips to Starbucks and state of mind should pay its dues to economic circumstances of the 18th Century. We owe it to the restless women who needed to occupy their minds with Radcliffe’s romances and Austen’s witty banter.
I conclude this post with telling you that I have started reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Maybe I shall blog about it soon.
“The novelist’s task is to draw his own likeness to any human being… Isn’t our attitude to all our characters more or less: There, and may God forgive me, goes myself.” – Graham Greene.