theory of the novel

War in the Time of Genre

As this cluster considers not only representations of modernist wartime, but also how wartime shapes historiography and periodization more broadly, my essay moves beyond modernism proper to examine how Kazuo Ishiguro’s contemporary novel When We Were Orphans (2000) is—if only weakly—about modernist war.

Flat Protagonists: A Theory of Novel Character by Marta Figlerowicz

Here is a get-over-yourself model of literary character. Flat protagonists are those that do not become more filled out or more compelling to others over the course of the novel even though they occupy the most space. Marta Figlerowicz takes a wonderful risk in giving her book this name because the flatness of the protagonists she tracks is not a dimensional reduction (as in: keeping them flat to study them from a distance, paring down their attributes until only the most essential—usually, historical materialist—ones remain, or turning them into the new objects of an anti-depth hermeneutics).