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At first sight, Fielding's fierce eye for externals appears to be that of the
caricaturist. We should, therefore, expect his characters to be 'flat', in E. M.
Forster's sense of the word. But this is not so at all. Flat characters are
representations of idees ...
Yet much more remains to him than appears from Aspects of the Novel, and what
remains is not merely his historical influence. That was enormous ; one may say,
quite simply, that he made the European novel and say something much more ...
Moreover, it was a complex change, and not all its manifestations appear in her
work. But 1859 saw the publication not only of Adam Bede but also of another
first novel, by a younger writer: George Meredith's The Ordeal of Richard Feverel.
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Remember when literary critics read books and wrote about them? No? Well, I do now. He got a few things wrong - what did these people ever see in H.G. Wells? In Meredith? That they should be put next ... Read full review
The Eighteenth Century
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