Analysis Of Ian Watts 's ' The Rise Of The Novel '

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IN The Rise of the Novel, Ian Watts defined “truth to individual experience” as a main criterion of the realistic novel form (Watt, p13). As opposed to earlier literary forms of generality and works inspired by legend and history, the 18th Century novel focused on human individuality and the conscious experience. (14) Plot events began to be connected causally, and language was used descriptively and denotatively, rather than non-figuratively. To Watt ‘formal realism’ was the most definable part of the 18th Century novel. However, writers such as Henry Fielding and eventually Charles Dickens noted that such formal realism gave way for textual bias, and thus created a “more critically objective realistic view of humanity’s diverse and subjective reality.” Both Fielding and Dickens were transparently conspicuous about their authorial presence within their works, Joseph Andrews and Bleak House. Within their works, Fielding and Dickens undertook many innovations in terms of their narrative strategies. In Joseph Andrews, Fielding experimented with his use of interpolated narratives as a way of evoking truthfulness and reality, whereas in Bleak House, Dickens’ use of a dual narrative in alternation was complementary in relaying the story. Dickens knew that exclusively using a third person narrator would be incapable to telling a ‘true story’. Both authors revealed the difficulty in portraying reality, because they realised that any point of view on reality is subjective.
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