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The Novel: A Survival Skill

Tim Parks



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Oxford University Press
30 July 2015
Literary studies: general; Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
In this book the distinguished novelist Tim Parks presents reading a novel as an exciting and dangerous meeting with another person. For the novelist, writing the book is part of life, a card played in the long psychological game of dealing with the world. For readers, their reaction to a work of fiction is likewise part of life as we seek a structure or strategy of understanding for ourselves. Engaged with numerous great novels and with focused discussion of James Joyce, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens. D. H. Lawrence, and J.M. Coetzee, The Novel: A Survival Skill gets much closer to the real experience of reading and writing, the mysteries of our positive and negative responses, than traditional literary criticism. Parks also devotes some time to exploring his own writing in the light of the arguments he is putting forward. The result is a compelling, risk-taking account of what is at stake in the lived experience of writing and of reading. The book also suggests why so much literary criticism seems entirely arcane and irrelevant to the 'ordinary' reader.
By:   Tim Parks
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 195mm,  Width: 142mm,  Spine: 12mm
Weight:   220g
ISBN:   9780198739593
ISBN 10:   0198739591
Series:   The Literary Agenda
Pages:   208
Publication Date:   30 July 2015
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Born in Manchester in 1954, Tim Parks studied at Cambridge and Harvard before moving permanently to Italy in 1981. Author of three bestselling books on Italy, and fifteen novels, including the Booker short-listed Europa, and most recently Painting Death, he has translated works by Moravia, Calvino, Calasso, Machiavelli, and Leopardi. While running a post-graduate degree course in translation at IULM University, Milan, he writes regularly for the LRB and the NYRB. His non-fiction works include, Translating Style, A Literary Approach to Translation Problems, Medici Money, an account of the relation between banking, the Church and art in the 15th century, and four accounts of life in contemporary Italy, Italian Neighbours, An Italian Education, A Season with Verona and Italian Ways, on and off the rails from Milan to Palermo.

Reviews for The Novel: A Survival Skill

an unmissable book ... The Novel: A Survival Skill, Parks' journal through the coercive emotional strategies of Joyce, Hardy, Dickens and others, is biographical and psychoanalytic criticism of the best kind. Edmund Gordon, TLS books of the year 2015 for all its big ideas, this book is written in a highly accessible, conversational way, and, as we might expect, with a lot of personality. A Hermit's Progress A fascinating book which beautifully connects up our motives for reading and writing novels with our deepest psychological impulses. Alain De Botton

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