Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Theory of the Novel: Clara Reeve. The Progress of Romance (1785)), Vol. I, Evening vii.



 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE NOVEL AND THE ROMANCE in

Clara Reeve. The Progress of Romance (1785)), Vol. I, Evening vii.

Euphrasia .... The word Novel in all languages signifies something new. It was first used to distinguish these works from Romance, though they have lately been confounded together and are frequently mistaken for each other.

Sophronia. But how will you draw the line of distinction, so as to separate them effectually, and prevent further mistakes?

Euphrasia. I will attempt this distinction, and I presume if it is properly done it will be followed,-If not, you are but where you were before. The Romance is an heroic fable, which treats of fabulous persons and things.-The Novel is a picture of real life and manners, and of the times in which it is written. The Romance in lofty and elevated language, describes what never happened nor is likely to happen.-The Novel gives a familiar relation of such things, as pass every day before our eyes, such as may happen to our friend, or to ourselves; and the perfection of it, is to represent every scene, in so easy and natural a manner, and to make them appear so probable, as to deceive us into a per­suasion (at least while we are reading) that all is real, until we are affected by the joys or distresses, of the persons in the story, as if they were our own.
Clara Reeve. The Progress of Romance (1785)), Vol. I, Evening vii.
 


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