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Aspects of the Novel (Anglais) Broché – 29 novembre 2012

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Revue de presse

His is a book to encourage dreaming. (Virginia Woolf) --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Présentation de l'éditeur

E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel is an innovative and effusive treatise on a literary form that, at the time of publication, had only recently begun to enjoy serious academic consideration. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction by Oliver Stallybrass, and features a new preface by Frank Kermode. First given as a series of lectures at Cambridge University, Aspects of the Novel is Forster's analysis of this great literary form. Here he rejects the 'pseudoscholarship' of historical criticism - 'that great demon of chronology' - that considers writers in terms of the period in which they wrote and instead asks us to imagine the great novelists working together in a single room. He discusses aspects of people, plot, fantasy and rhythm, making illuminating comparisons between novelists such as Proust and James, Dickens and Thackeray, Eliot and Dostoyevsky - the features shared by their books and the ways in which they differ. Written in a wonderfully engaging and conversational manner, this penetrating work of criticism is full of Forster's habitual irreverence, wit and wisdom. In his new introduction, Frank Kermode discusses the ways in which Forster's perspective as a novelist inspired his lectures. This edition also includes the original introduction by Oliver Stallybrass, a chronology, further reading and appendices. E. M. Forster (1879-1970) was a noted English author and critic and a member of the Bloomsbury group. His first novel, Where Angels Fear To Tread appeared in 1905. The Longest Journey appeared in 1907, followed by A Room With A View (1908), based partly on the material from extended holidays in Italy with his mother. Howards End (1910) was a story that centered on an English country house and dealt with the clash between two families, one interested in art and literature, the other only in business. Maurice was revised several times during his life, and finally published posthumously in 1971. If you enjoyed Aspects of the Novel, you might like Forster's A Room with a View, also available in Penguin Classics.

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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Forster before being a classic has been a living writer with his dedicated readers. He's today probably more wellknown through the adaptations for the cinema, and of course, his famous novel "Maurice", which was published after his death, as it was dealing with homosexuality, a delicate topic in victorian times, and also after, all along the first part of the twentieth century.

The essays Forster has dedicated to his knowledge of the art of Novel are very readable as they were first written and read for a student audience.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x919d6558) étoiles sur 5 54 commentaires
86 internautes sur 87 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x988aa228) étoiles sur 5 Marvelous thugh loosely structured reflections on the novel 30 janvier 2002
Par Robert Moore - Publié sur
Format: Broché
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.
36 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x988aa27c) étoiles sur 5 wonderful insights from a great British novelist 24 août 2004
Par audrey frances - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
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.
28 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x988aa558) étoiles sur 5 Nothing Else Like It 19 avril 2007
Par Joby Hughes - Publié sur
Format: Broché
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.
50 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x988aaa80) étoiles sur 5 better than his novels 21 octobre 2000
Par Orrin C. Judd - Publié sur
Format: Broché
...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.
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x988aaa98) étoiles sur 5 A Must Read for Everyone 14 juillet 2000
Par Samuel W. Harnish, Jr. - Publié sur
Format: Relié
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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