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Aspects of the Novel (English Edition)
 
 

Aspects of the Novel (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

E. M. Forster
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There are all kinds of books out there purporting to explain that odd phenomenon the novel. Sometimes it's hard to know whom they're are for, exactly. Enthusiastic readers? Fellow academics? Would-be writers? Aspects of the Novel, E.M. Forster's 1927 treatise on the "fictitious prose work over 50,000 words" is, it turns out, for anyone with the faintest interest in how fiction is made. Open at random, and find your attention utterly sandbagged.

Forster's book is not really a book at all; rather, it's a collection of lectures delivered at Cambridge University on subjects as parboiled as "People," "The Plot," and "The Story." It has an unpretentious verbal immediacy thanks to its spoken origin and is written in the key of Aplogetic Mumble: "Those who dislike Dickens have an excellent case. He ought to be bad." Such gentle provocations litter these pages. How can you not read on? Forster's critical writing is so ridiculously plainspoken, so happily commonsensical, that we often forget to be intimidated by the rhetorical landscapes he so ably leads us through. As he himself points out in the introductory note, "Since the novel is itself often colloquial it may possibly withhold some of its secrets from the graver and grander streams of criticism, and may reveal them to backwaters and shallows."

And Forster does paddle into some unlikely eddies here. For instance, he seems none too gung ho about love in the novel: "And lastly, love. I am using this celebrated word in its widest and dullest sense. Let me be very dry and brief about sex in the first place." He really means in the first place. Like the narrator of a '50s hygiene film, Forster continues, dry and brief as anything, "Some years after a human being is born, certain changes occur in it..." One feels here the same-sexer having the last laugh, heartily.

Forster's brand of humanism has fallen from fashion in literary studies, yet it endures in fiction itself. Readers still love this author, even if they come to him by way of the multiplex. The durability of his work is, of course, the greatest raison d'être this book could have. It should have been titled How to Write Novels People Will Still Read in a Hundred Years. --Claire Dederer

Amazon.com

There are all kinds of books out there purporting to explain that odd phenomenon the novel. Sometimes it's hard to know whom they're are for, exactly. Enthusiastic readers? Fellow academics? Would-be writers? Aspects of the Novel, E.M. Forster's 1927 treatise on the "fictitious prose work over 50,000 words" is, it turns out, for anyone with the faintest interest in how fiction is made. Open at random, and find your attention utterly sandbagged.

Forster's book is not really a book at all; rather, it's a collection of lectures delivered at Cambridge University on subjects as parboiled as "People," "The Plot," and "The Story." It has an unpretentious verbal immediacy thanks to its spoken origin and is written in the key of Aplogetic Mumble: "Those who dislike Dickens have an excellent case. He ought to be bad." Such gentle provocations litter these pages. How can you not read on? Forster's critical writing is so ridiculously plainspoken, so happily commonsensical, that we often forget to be intimidated by the rhetorical landscapes he so ably leads us through. As he himself points out in the introductory note, "Since the novel is itself often colloquial it may possibly withhold some of its secrets from the graver and grander streams of criticism, and may reveal them to backwaters and shallows."

And Forster does paddle into some unlikely eddies here. For instance, he seems none too gung ho about love in the novel: "And lastly, love. I am using this celebrated word in its widest and dullest sense. Let me be very dry and brief about sex in the first place." He really means in the first place. Like the narrator of a '50s hygiene film, Forster continues, dry and brief as anything, "Some years after a human being is born, certain changes occur in it..." One feels here the same-sexer having the last laugh, heartily.

Forster's brand of humanism has fallen from fashion in literary studies, yet it endures in fiction itself. Readers still love this author, even if they come to him by way of the multiplex. The durability of his work is, of course, the greatest raison d'être this book could have. It should have been titled How to Write Novels People Will Still Read in a Hundred Years. --Claire Dederer


Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 246 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 194 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0156091801
  • Verlag: RosettaBooks (28. Juni 2010)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B003XREL84
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.8 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #195.421 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Information on writing everyone should read 27. Januar 2008
Format:Taschenbuch
Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster, addresses both readers and aspiring writers--and gives example after example of literary masterpieces and offers techniques for writing more attentively, for noticing and thrilling in the language on the page. It comes from the wisdom of a seasoned teachers of literature, longtime journalists and host of other collected articles, and the author of fourteen works of fiction. E.M. Forster has a guarded enthusiasm for MFA programs; the book, in part, is a criticism of where some of the MFA program culture has gone astray, as if some writing workshops have become unmoored from the literary masterpieces that inspired them. If I had to really characterize the book I'd say it's about the pleasure of learning to write.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An Intriguing and Useful Study 6. Juni 2000
Von oh_pete
Format:Taschenbuch
ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL follows the text of a series of lectures E. M. Forster gave at Cambridge in 1927. He departed boldly from convention by trying to get his listeners to picture the great novelists of history writing at the same time in the same room--this to protect us from the pseudo-scholarly impulse to classify by period without a careful exploration of themes. Who is a psuedo-scholar? Anyone who "loves mentioning [the] genius [of a novelist], because the sound of the word exempts him from trying to discover its meaning." No longer guilty, I hope!
Forster helps facilitate that all-important struggle with the writer that will give us the most enjoyment and edification from literature. He does so by examining seven "aspects": The Story, People, The Plot, Fantasy, Prophecy, Pattern and Rhythm. Examples drawn from the likes of Sterne, Melville, Joyce, D. H. Lawrence and Henry James help illustrate his logically and lucid points. As a practitioner and a critic of the novel, Forster is both engaged with his topic and engaging in his exposition. Highly recommended for both the serious novel reader and the literature student needing a breather from the oppressiveness of Theory.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Indispensable, that's what it is. 20. November 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Taschenbuch
The guy could write, right? If you want to know Forster, or if you want to know the novel, you have to read this. Read Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel, too. 'Nuff said.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Important for understanding the novels 17. Dezember 1998
Format:Taschenbuch
As with all writer's writings about their own works, Aspects of the Novel is critical in at least an historical and structural reading of Forster's works (it helps in terms of hermoneutics as well). Also contained are shreds of Forster's own philosophy, an argument for an Hegelian study of the novels, and clues to the meaning and importance of his short fiction.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 von 5 Sternen  36 Rezensionen
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Marvelous thugh loosely structured reflections on the novel 30. Januar 2002
Von Robert Moore - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Though Forster structures his essays around such fundamental novelistic elements as plot, character, and language, this is a rather loosely constructed and free ranging discussion of the literary form that has come in the past two hundred years to dominate the Western world's literary preoccupations. It is not systematic, nor is it comprehensive. Its tone is more personal and impressionistic. Fortunately, Forster has a large number of tremendously perceptions about the novel and novelists, and because he couches these reflections in frequently brilliant sentences, this book makes for reading that is both insightful and delightful. It is also an intensely personal book, so that we gain a great deal of insight into Forster's tastes and quirks.
Nearly every chapter in this book has something to offer the reader, but I have found his discussion of the difference between flat and round characters to be especially useful in reading other novels. In Forster's view, a round character is one that can develop and change over the course of a novel's story. They adjust, grow, and react to events and people around them. They are fuller, and therefore more lifelike. A flat character, on the other hand, is essentially the same character at the end of the tale as at the beginning. They do not grow, do not alter with time, do no admit of development. Flat characters are not necessarily bad characters. As Forster points out, correctly, I think, nearly all of Charles Dickens's characters are flat characters. Not even major characters such as David Copperfield change during the course of their history.
I have found this distinction to be quite helpful in reading the work of various novelists. Some authors have almost nothing but round characters. Anthony Trollope is a premier example of this. All of his characters develop and change and are effected by events around them. Some authors have a mix of flat and round characters, like Jane Austen. As Forster points out, she is even capable of taking a flat character like Mrs. Bennet, expand her suddenly into a round character, and then collapse her back into a round one. And her round characters are very, very round indeed. Compare Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse with any character in Dickens, and the difference is obvious. On the other hand, someone like Hemingway tends to have round male characters and flat female characters, or Iris Murdoch, who has round female characters but flat male characters.
The book is filled with marvelous, frequently funny sentences. "Books have to be read . . . it is the only way of discovering what they contain." "Neither of them has much taste: the world of beauty was largely closed to Dickens, and is entirely closed to Wells." "The intensely, stifling human quality of the novel is not to be avoided; the novel is sogged with humanity." "The human mind is not a dignified organ, and I do not see how we can exercise it sincerely except through eclecticism." And one could go on and on.
If one wants a systematic and exhaustive history and discussion of the novel, one ought to turn, perhaps, to another book. But if one finds a pithy, impressionistic reaction to the form by one of its better 20th century practitioners, one could not do better than this find book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen wonderful insights from a great British novelist 24. August 2004
Von audrey - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
This shortish book is composed of the transcripts of Forster's 1927 series of talks about the novel, and is divided into chapters on story, characters, plot, and pattern & rhythm. In my opinion the two chapters on fantasy and prophecy are less successful, but if you are considering this book then you should definitely read it. It's filled with wonderful lines and terrific criticism (both positive and negative) of contemporary novels by Austen, Wells, Scott, Dostoevsky, Proust, James and others, and it was this latter aspect that I found most enjoyable. There is also an index so you can find these references when you want to. Forster discusses the sense of time and space in literature, round and flat characters, food, sex, love, POV, story vs. plot and causality. I've been reading novels for several decades and have read a fair number of books about writing, and I still gained insight from this lively little book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Nothing Else Like It 19. April 2007
Von Joby Hughes - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Sometimes one reads a book and it opens up the brain and heart in such a way that one views the world differently thereafter. This is such a book. You will never again read a novel and think about the book in front of you or how it was written in quite the same way. There is nothing else like it.

Delving into this book was part of a quest over the past year to read books on writing by writers. The books did not address HOW to write a novel other than tangentially. Although there are a plethora of dubious choices along those lines, I stayed away from them. The books that I searched out were books on the process of writing, the very lonely experience of the writer in creating fiction.

Several of the books were fogettable. A surprising number of them were memorable, including Mystery & Manners by Flannery O'Connor, On Writing by Stephen King, and anything by Margaret Atwood.

Of all of the books that I read, this one was the best by far. It covered not only the process of writing but also provided a structure for discussing and understanding the novel art form.

As a result, I highly recommend this book for book clubs. When presenting this book recently to my book club of 14+ years as my pick, there was a collective groan. Upon finishing the book, we all thought that it was one of the best of the 125+ books that we had read. It gave us a missing structure and tools for moving discussions and disagreements forward. Several times over the years, one or more of us have disagreed over some book selection or an aspect of it, but the discussion would stall for lack of a way to bridge the various viewpoints. For the first time, we were able to go back through those arguments in a new light using the tools presented in the book. It was very enlightening.

The books's title tacitly promises dry intellectual discourse, but the text reads off the page as fresh as it certainly did when it was originally presented by Forster as a series of guest lectures at Cambridge.

Highly recommended reading.
48 von 54 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen better than his novels 21. Oktober 2000
Von Orrin C. Judd - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
...the fundamental aspect of the novel is its story-telling aspect... -EM Forster, Aspects of the Novel
I liked this collected series of lectures on what makes for good novel writing much better than almost any of the novels that Forster actually wrote (A Passage to India being the lone exception). Forster treats seven different aspects--the story, people, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern, and rhythm--in a breezy conversational style. Along the way, he offers examples, both good and bad, from literary history. I found myself agreeing and dissenting about equally, but the whole thing was immensely interesting and entertaining.
Here are some of the observations that I agreed with and why:
A story "can only have one fault: that of making the audience not want to know what happens next."
One inevitably thinks of James Joyce's Ulysses, which by now has surely retired the title of "the book most likely to remain unfinished". No matter how revolutionary the technique, how insightful the observations or how compelling the characters, a book that you can put down and not care what happens next has failed in its most basic task. ----------------------
The constant sensitiveness of characters for each other--even in writers called robust, like Fielding--is remarkable, and has no parallel in life, except among those people who have plenty of leisure. Passion, intensity at moments--yes, but not this constant awareness, this endless readjusting, this ceaseless hunger. I believe that these are the reflections of the novelist's own state of mind while he composes, and that the predominance of love in novels is partly because of this.
Forster elsewhere sites DH Lawrence favorably, but he seems to me to be an author whose characters are so obsessed by passion as to be too novelistic, if not completely unrealistic. But, the example I would site here actually is not a case of love predominating to excess, but rather Crime and Punishment , where the characters' constant awareness of the philosophical and moral implications of their every thought and deed is such that it could only be the product of an author in intellectual overdrive. If real people truly lived their lives this way, nothing would ever get done. ----------------------
In the losing battle that the plot fights with the characters, it often takes a cowardly revenge. Nearly all novels are feeble at the end. This is because the plot requires to be wound up. Why is this necessary? Why is there not a convention which allows a novelist to stop as soon as he feels muddled or bored? Alas, he has to round things off, and usually the characters go dead while he is at work, and our final impression of them is through deadness.
Anyone who's ever read one of his books will instantly call to mind James Clavell. I recall the jarring sensation of finishing his great novel Tai-Pan when, many hundreds of pages into the book, unwilling to see it conclude, but obviously noticing that their were a dwindling number of pages; I could not imagine how he would conclude the main plot line so quickly, let alone tie up all of the remaining loose ends. And then, BOOM!, our hero is dead and the book is over. And why? I was ready to read on for as long as he wanted to keep writing. Or, at worst, he could have just stopped in mid story and said: "To be continued..." But Forster is right; the conventions of the novel almost require authors to
let the tiger out of the cage at the end, and, more often then not, it leaves a bitter taste in the reader's mouth, regardless of how much we'd enjoyed the book up until that point.
There is much food for thought of this kind in this witty, opinionated, fascinating survey of the novel. Add to that a really fine hammer job on Henry James and the fact that said hammering upset Virginia Woolf and we're talking big thumbs up here.
GRADE: A-
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Must Read for Everyone 14. Juli 2000
Von Samuel W. Harnish, Jr. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This little book, the result of a series of Cambridge lectures by E. M. Forester in 1927, may be a little hard to acquire, but it is written in a style that is easy to read and understand, and with a style that tempts you to read it many times.
The idea is simple. Imagine all the novelists sitting in a room, each with a pen in hand. As we look over their shoulders what do we see? A story, something that keeps you wanting to know 'What happens next'. What gets added to that to make a great novel? People, Plot, Fantasy, Prophecy, Pattern and Rhythm are the words Forester uses to discuss the various aspects. Always with a sense of humor, and a loving understanding of his craft, and specific examples from novels written by those writers in that room.
This book it worth studying for an understanding of literature, it is also reading for an understanding of this particular novelist and what he believes is important in those books we all love.
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&quote;
A plot is also a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. &quote;
Markiert von 26 Kindle-Nutzern
&quote;
If it is in a story we say and then? If it is in a plot we ask why? That is the fundamental difference between these two aspects of the novel. &quote;
Markiert von 18 Kindle-Nutzern
&quote;
And what the story does is to narrate the life in time. And what the entire novel doesif it is a good novelis to include the life by values as well; &quote;
Markiert von 14 Kindle-Nutzern

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