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Misfit FormsPaths Not Taken by the British Novel$
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Lorri G. Nandrea

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823263431

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823263431.001.0001

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The Novel, Education, and Experience

(p.1) Introduction
Misfit Forms

Lorri G. Nandrea

Fordham University Press

This introduction provides an overview of the book's arguments and theoretical underpinnings, including the need to move beyond new historicism and embrace the insights that can be provided by cross-period literary studies. The introduction then traces the early-nineteenth-century origins of a trend linking the novel to education and knowledge, rather than experience or the sensory. In our time, this trend has yielded an increased instrumentalization of literature and, in teaching, a distorting focus on measurable outcomes that can be objectively assessed. Joining together the concepts of style and singularity suggests a way to resist this trend while also moving beyond the hermaneutics of suspicion. “Reading for style,” playfully emblematized by Sterne's marbled page, is an approach to teaching and reading novels which pays special attention to the features that individuate a literary work (or a person), allowing us to cultivate, recognize, and value singular styles.

Keywords:   Singularity, Style, Reading for Style, Assessment, Teaching literature, Hermaneutics of suspicion, Approaches to literature, Instrumentalization, Marbled page, Reading for the Plot

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