Nicola Wilson writes:
There is an exciting review of our recently co-edited book, New Directions in the History of the Novel (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) in Literature and History (24.1, spring 2015). This book came out of a conference co-organised by myself, Dr Andrew Nash, and Professor Patrick Parrinder, at the Institute for English Studies in London in 2009. We viewed New Directions as a compliment to the multi-volume Oxford History of the Novel in English series of which Patrick is General Editor, something that would reflect on the historiography of writing on the novel – a book about ‘the history of the history of the novel’ in many ways, which of course also looks to its future. We hoped it would be of interest to academics and students studying the novel, its history and development, and grounded our ‘new directions’ in four vibrant areas of literary study: the material text (the ‘bookness of books’ as Thomas Keymer writes in his chapter); the questioning of definitions and critical movements that have long-dominated readings of the novel and its form, like realism; new work in global cultural histories; and contemporary fiction. Claire Wood of the University of York writes a very positive review, calling attention to ‘the balanced consideration that is characteristic of the volume as a whole’ (109) and summarising: ‘what these engaging and accessible essays do brilliantly, however, is to offer a range of provocative starting points that challenge us to see the conventional story of the novel’s development as just one curated strand of many intertwining histories’ (110).
Dr Nicola Wilson is newly appointed Lecturer in Book and Publishing Studies at the University of Reading. She is working on a British Academy-funded project on popular reading patterns and the Book Society Ltd (1929-60). Her first book, recently published, is Home in British Working-Class Fiction (Ashgate, 2015).