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Forms of Modernity Don Quixote and Modern Theories of the Novel by Rachel Schmidt

Forms of Modernity Don Quixote and Modern Theories of the Novel

Part of the University of Toronto Romance Series Series


Forms of Modernity Don Quixote and Modern Theories of the Novel by Rachel Schmidt

It's a critical cliche that Cervantes' Don Quixote is the first modern novel, but this distinction raises two fundamental questions. First, how does one define a novel? And second, what is the relationship between this genre and understandings of modernity? In Forms of Modernity, Rachel Schmidt examines how seminal theorists and philosophers have wrestled with the status of Cervantes' masterpiece as an 'exemplary novel', in turn contributing to the emergence of key concepts within genre theory. Schmidt's discussion covers the views of well-known thinkers such as Friedrich Schlegel, Jose Ortega y Gasset, and Mikhail Bakhtin, but also the pivotal contributions of philosophers such as Hermann Cohen and Miguel de Unamuno. These theorists' examinations of Cervantes's fictional knight errant character point to an ever-shifting boundary between the real and the virtual. Drawing from both intellectual and literary history, Forms of Modernity richly explores the development of the categories and theories that we use today to analyze and understand novels.

About the Author

Rachel Schmidt is a professor in the Department of French, Italian and Spanish at the University of Calgary.

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Book Info

Publication date

9th April 2011


Rachel Schmidt

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University of Toronto Press


384 pages


Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers



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