The Novel and the (Il)Legibility of History: Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, and Alexandre Dumas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Abstract

How and why did the French Romantics turn to narrative fiction as a means of engaging with their generation's ever-shifting history? This chapter looks at three of France's most iconic writers -- whose work has too often been connected in biographical rather than critical terms -- to stress the interaction between Romantic imagination and Realist observation that enabled the novel to become the dominant literary genre of the nineteenth century. Hugo, Balzac, and Dumas bring new depths to the novel form in their recognition of its capacity for pensive sobriety and social commentary, while at the same time celebrating its aptitude for the fizz and froth of popular spectacle.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of European Romanticism
EditorsPaul Hamilton
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages88-104
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-969638-3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Romanticism
  • Victor Hugo
  • Balzac
  • Alexandre Dumas

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