University of Toronto

Graduate Department of English

ENG5520Y: Narrative, Narratology , and Modernist Fiction

Instructor: Melba Cuddy-Keane

An exercise in relational definition:

Early comparisons between the Victorian novel and the modernist novel set up the following binaries: (Compare the later binary oppositions posited between the modernism and postmodernism. How does the nature of the modernist novel "flip," depending on the form to which it is being compared?)

Victorian/Edwardian Modernist
Alan Friedman:
structure of a ladder
self in relation to social world
structure of a cobweb
private self as generative source of fictions
Josť Ortega Y Gasset:
art of adventures
humanized representation
art of figures
game or
delightful fraud
John Fletcher and Malcolm Bradbury:
material realism
Alan Friedman:
closed form
open form
endlessness; ongoing flux of experience
James Gindin:
centrally coherent focus
formal, moral or theological absolutes
metaphysical truth
fable; myth

tradition of compassion (1875- )
inconclusive; partially conclusive
denial of formal, moral, or theological absolutes
sense of history or social process rather than metaphysical truth
fiction negotiates with experience of reader


1. Alan Friedman, "The Novel," The Twentieth-Century Mind: History, Ideas, and Literature in Britain, 1: 1900-1918, ed. C.B. Cox and A.E. Dyson (London: Oxford University Press, 1972). 414-46. 

2. Josť Ortega Y Gasset, "Notes on the Novel," The Dehumanization of Art and Notes on the Novel, trans. Helen Weyl (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1948). 57-103.

3. John Fletcher and Malcolm Bradbury, "The Introverted Novel," Modernism 1890-1930, eds. Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane, (Harmondsworth; New York: Penguin, 1976). 394-415.

4. Alan Friedman, The Turn of the Novel (London: Oxford University Press, 1966).

5. James Gindin, Harvest of a Quiet Eye: The Novel of Compassion (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1971).

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