Studying the Novel. (2010). London. Bloomsbury Academic.

This is my second attempt at the book by Jeremy Hawthorn (which to my understanding is in its 6th rendition).  Though I find myself most at water in the realm of research and ‘sponging’ (Yes, two co-workers have described me as a sponge), I am also constrained by time…[and no, the first 6 week loan duration was insufficient.]

I am surprised right now nonetheless at the speed I am reading. (I once read 5 books in five days because I accidentally ‘mis-managed’ my essay deadline back in university. Then there was this article that I read 6 times in my final year so that we could do a critique of it.) Inadvertently thereof, I come to the unforeseen conclusion that the humanities degree contributed to the capacity today.

Back to the topic shall we?


I nearly took Literature in the Junior College (JC) phase. There used to be a 3-month, trial period so to speak, while students awaited their results. Students get some points deduction if they eventually choose the JC where they spent this trial. So then we had a lesson on Jude the Obscure (by Thomas Hardy). It was the conversation between Jude and his wife that caught me. It was an argument over the slaughtering of the pig. (Just earlier this year, I found that this was not the first time they quarreled over the matter in the story.) The wife bled the pig out against Jude’s wishes of a less painful death for the pig. I still remember saying: ‘They should not have been married at all.’ The premise is that they have differing life perspectives. There is at least one other non-dialogue description that made Jude think negatively of his wife selection…

The above reflection was inspired by Hawthorn analysis of a dialogue between Mr Bennet and Mrs Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (by Jane Austen) as replicated (in terms of idea below):

Mrs Bennet: Full sentence question

‘Mr Bennet replied that he had not.’ (original text)

Mrs Bennet: Another full sentence

‘Mr Bennet made no answer.’ (original text)

See — the above plays out a conversation that is utterly not happening.


This never really occurred to me before. Franz Kafka’s The Trial (1925), has no geographical setting nor time boundary. There is a deliberate purpose in this it seems. I guess I have been too enamoured with realistic fiction. More recently this took the form of reading by (physical) setting with the latest being Gibraltar, preceded by South Africa, Scotland, Scandinavia…

Wow, reading across disciplines (subjects) opens up the mind to probably entire intellectual universes…


One thought on “Studying the Novel. (2010). London. Bloomsbury Academic.

  1. Pingback: The Short Story – Reading and deconstruction? – chenweilun2014

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