Damrosch, Leopold, Jr.
Title GOD'S PLOT & MAN'S STORIES: STUDIES IN THE FICTIONAL IMAGINATION FROM MILTON TO FIELDING.
Publisher University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1985, first edition.
Seller ID 20774
343 pp, large 8vo (9 1/4" H), hard cover in dust jacket. ISBN 0226135799 "Combining literary criticsm with psychology, sociology, and the history of ideas, (this book) offers a fresh approach to the often-asserted connection between Puritanism and the rise of the English novel. Its premise is that the Christian myth, far from serving as a simple, unified background to fiction, was paradoxical and full of potential conflicts, and that these were particularly vivid in the Puritan ima g i n a t i o n . The extraordinary power of Puritan psychology rests in the control it granted Providence over the individual. Yet as a basis for fiction, Puritanism confronted a paradox that is the central theme of Damrosch's study - the tensio n be tw ee n fi ct io ns that confess themselves to be fictional and the Puritan faith in human life as a narrative invented by God....Damrosch holds that the eighteenth-century novel was preeminently a novel of ideas, not simply illustrating or al lu din g t o i de as but te sti ng them and fighting with them. As such, individual masterpieces found unique solutions to shared cultural problems. They demand to be understood from within, even while an attempt is made to trace their historical de velo pmen t. Acc ord ingl y, D amro sch examines a series of major works in detail. After surveying Puritan ideas about the self, time, and language, he considers two very different modes of Puritan narrative: Milton's 'Paradise Lost' and Bunya n's autob iogra phy and all egori es. Damro sch then explores the transition to secular narrative in eloquent discussions of Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe', Richardson's 'Clarissa', and Fielding's 'Tom Jones'. A glance at Sterne's 'Tristram Shandy' co nclu des th e book , wi th re flect ions o n th e futu re of the novel in an age when providential pattern could no longer be asserted as synonymous with literary design." 1" faint line indentation on fore-edge of textblock. Dust jacket moderate w rinkl ing and a few tiny tears/ chips along t op ed ge, lig ht edge wear wrinkling at bottom of spine. Very Good+/Very Good-