Download e-book for iPad: 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley

By Jane Smiley

ISBN-10: 1400033187

ISBN-13: 9781400033188

Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling novelist Jane Smiley celebrates the novel–and takes us on an exciting travel via 100 of them–in this seductive and immensely worthwhile literary tribute.

In her inimitable style–exuberant, candid, opinionated–Smiley explores the ability of the unconventional, its heritage and diversity, its cultural impression, and simply the way it works its magic. She invitations us behind the curtain of novel-writing, sharing her personal behavior and spilling the secrets and techniques of her craft. and he or she bargains precious suggestion to aspiring authors. As she works her approach via 100 novels–from classics corresponding to the thousand-year-old Tale of Genji to fresh fiction via Zadie Smith and Alice Munro–she infects us anew with the fervour for studying that's the governing spirit of this present to booklet fans far and wide.

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Example text

When her husband dies, Ellinor fakes her own death and has herself buried in effigy to escape imprisonment as a madwoman. Dressed as a youth, she follows Essex to Ireland where he has gone allegedly to subdue the Irish but, in fact, to further his own plan to marry Ellinor and put her on the throne. The rebel Earl of Tyrone falls in love with Ellinor but she escapes and, dressed as a youth and accompanied by Lady Southampton, is shipwrecked on the coast of Scotland and held prisoner again. Finally returning to England, she visits Essex in prison before his execution for treason, and after­ wards descends into madness.

As potential heirs to the throne, their identities are kept secret to protect them from Elizabeth’s jealousy, both political and sexual. When Leicester’s part in the Babington plot is discovered, he and the pregnant Matilda flee first to the recess and then to France, leaving Ellinor to face the wrath of the Queen. Elizabeth discovers the secret of the twins’ birth from documents carried by Ellinor. indd 27 2/12/2013 10:37:31 AM Female Gothic Histories Ellinor is forced to sign a forged document denying that Mary is their mother.

Her attempt, that is, to write herself out of the recess and into ‘legitimacy’ and history. The documents historians depend upon as evidence, Lee reminds us, can be copied, forged, fragmentary or duplicitious, and their power to assert the ‘truth’ depends on who wields them and the pattern into which such fragments are ‘stitched’. These issues also connect to questions Hume, Robertson and Goldsmith raise around the ‘legitimacy’ of female rulers. ‘Illegit­ imate’ has two connected meanings: (1) ‘not authorized by law, im­proper’ and (2) ‘not recognized as lawful offspring, bastard’ (OED).

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13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley

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