The Rise of the Novel is Ian Watt's classic description of the interworkings of social conditions, changing attitudes, and literary practices during the period when the novel emerged as the dominant literary form of the individualist era.
In a new foreword, W. B. Carnochan accounts for the increasing interest in the English novel, including the contributions that Ian Watt's study made to literary studies: his introduction of sociology and philosophy to traditional criticism.
Ian Watt (1917-1999) was Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of English at Stanford University. W. B. Carnochan is Richard W. Lyman Professor of the Humanities Emeritus at Stanford, where he was a colleague of Ian Watt's for many years.
Praise for the new (2001) edition:
"Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel still seems to me far and away the best book ever written on the early English novel—wise, humane, beautifully organized and expressed, one of the absolutely indispensable critical works in modern literary scholarship. And W. B. Carnochan's brilliant introduction does a wonderful job of showing how Watt's book came into being and changed for good the way the novel in general is taught and understood."—Max Byrd, author of Grant: A Novel
"Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel remains the single indispensable, absolutely essential book for students of the 18th-century novel."—John Richetti, author of The English Novel in History: 1700-1780
Praise for the original edition:
"A remarkable book. . . . A pioneer work in the application of modern sociology to literature."—Manchester Guardian
"An outstanding contribution to the field of historical sociology and the sociology of knowledge. . . . The author has set the 'rise of the novel' as a new literary genre in the social context of eighteenth-century England, with emphasis on the predominant middle-class features of the period."—American Journal of Sociology