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Grant number like: FA-56122-11

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Ala Alryyes
Yale University (New Haven, CT 06510-1703)
War's Knowledge and the Laws of Nature: Subjectivity, Conflict, and Worldmaking in Philosophy and the Novel, 1660-1798

My book project fundamentally revises previous interpretations of the rise and poetics of the British novel. I argue that the eighteenth-century novel is best understood not as narrating the pacific experience of a self-interested middle class, as Ian Watt seminally advanced in The Rise of the Novel (1957), but rather as the genre that specializes in thick representations and anatomies of human subjectivity, vulnerability, and association in hostile imaginary worlds, such as Crusoe’s Island of Despair or the bellicose Shandy household. My research reveals that threat and conflict set the framework within which the elements of formal realism—the operations of the senses, time, space, property, character—are constituted. The fictional subject under stress in war brings out with special clarity the vexed autonomous self that the nascent novel elaborates.

Project fields:
Comparative Literature

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2011 – 8/31/2012