List of Novel Of Manners Books and Works : Vote for your favorites.
The novel of manners is a realistic story that concentrates the reader’s attention upon the customs and conversation, and the ways of thinking and valuing of the people of a social class. As such, the narrative structure of the novel of manners recreates a social world (civil, military, political, business) and shows the spheres of public and private life sufficiently to convey the dominance of social-code mores upon the personal and public lives of the people in the story. The detailed observation of the values and customs of a social-class society, thematically dominate the story. The characters are differentiated by measures of "success" and “failure”; by the degree to which he or she meets the standard of uniform social behaviour; and by the degree to which each character fails at uniformity in language, thought, and action.
The narrative province of the novel of manners is the satire of a society in which behaviour is codified, language reduced to impersonal formulas of communication, and the expression of feeling and emotion is muted in public and private life. In such a society, the observation of “manners” — codified gestures of communication — indicates the existence of a collective mind and soul to society, with which the protagonist must cope to reach the end of the story; both conditions merit the novelist's observation and perception.
The thematic range of a novel of manners varies with the writer's scope of observation, depth of reportage, and opinion of the people being satirised. In the novels of Jane Austen, about the quotidian, domestic affairs of the English gentry in the British countryside, such stories ignore the elemental, human passions (love and hate) and the greater matters (social, cultural, political) of the world beyond the county line. The novel of manners of wide scope in subject and theme was the province of Honoré de Balzac, who reported the complexity of industrial-age life in the 19th century, with realistic and descriptively detailed stories from private life, public life, and military life, as lived in the cities and towns of France.
Culturally, the novel of manners is a literary artefact, an objet d’art created as symbol of a psychologically secure society able to view themselves with the critical perspective of the novelist, whose realistic, narrative-work records, reports, and presents the world of the story for posterity. Given that in literature the great psychological profundities are eternal and manners are ephemeral, as an artist, the novelist captures the manners of the day, for the reader to know and understand the How? and the Why? of the world.Read more...
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