Psychological fiction

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In literature, psychological fiction (also psychological realism) is a narrative genre that emphasizes interior characterization and motivation to explore the spiritual, emotional, and mental lives of the characters. The mode of narration examines the reasons for the behaviors of the character, which propel the plot and explain the story. [1] Psychological realism is achieved with deep explorations and explanations of the mental states of the character's inner person, usually through narrative modes such as stream of consciousness and flash back. [2]

Contents

Early examples

The psychological novel has a rich past in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century works of Mme de Lafayette, the Abbé Prévost, Samuel Richardson, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and many others, but it goes on being disinvented by ideologues and reinvented by their opponents, because the subtleties of psychology defy most ideologies. [3]

The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki, written in 11th-century Japan, was considered by Jorge Luis Borges to be a psychological novel. [4] In the west, the origins of the psychological novel can be traced as far back as Giovanni Boccaccio's 1344 Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta ; that is before the term psychology was coined.

The first rise of the psychological novel as a genre is said to have started with the sentimental novel of which Samuel Richardson's Pamela is a prime example.

In French literature, Stendhal's The Red and the Black and Madame de La Fayette's The Princess of Cleves are considered early precursors of the psychological novel. [5] The modern psychological novel originated, according to The Encyclopedia of the Novel, primarily in the works of Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun – in particular, Hunger (1890), Mysteries (1892), Pan (1894) and Victoria (1898). [6]

Notable examples

One of the greatest writers of the genre was Fyodor Dostoyevsky. His novels deal strongly with ideas, and characters who embody these ideas, how they play out in real world circumstances, and the value of them, most notably The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment .

In the literature of the United States, Henry James, Patrick McGrath, Arthur Miller, and Edith Wharton are considered "major contributor[s] to the practice of psychological realism." [7]

Subgenres

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Knut Hamsun Norwegian novelist

Knut Hamsun was a Norwegian writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920. Hamsun's work spans more than 70 years and shows variation with regard to consciousness, subject, perspective and environment. He published more than 20 novels, a collection of poetry, some short stories and plays, a travelogue, works of non-fiction and some essays.

Mystery, The Mystery, Mysteries or The Mysteries may refer to:

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In literary criticism, stream of consciousness is a narrative mode or method that attempts "to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through the mind" of a narrator. The term was coined by Alexander Bain in 1855 in the first edition of The Senses and the Intellect, when he wrote, "The concurrence of Sensations in one common stream of consciousness enables those of different senses to be associated as readily as the sensations of the same sense" (p. 359). But it is commonly credited to William James who used it in 1890 in his The Principles of Psychology. In 1918, the novelist May Sinclair (1863–1946) first applied the term stream of consciousness, in a literary context, when discussing Dorothy Richardson's (1873–1957) novels. Pointed Roofs (1915), the first work in Richardson's series of 13 semi-autobiographical novels titled Pilgrimage, is the first complete stream-of-consciousness novel published in English. However, in 1934, Richardson comments that "Proust, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf & D.R. ... were all using 'the new method', though very differently, simultaneously". There were, however, many earlier precursors and the technique is still used by contemporary writers.

<i>The Tale of Genji</i> Classic work of Japanese literature

The Tale of Genji is a classic work of Japanese literature written in the early 11th century by the noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu. The original manuscript, created around the peak of the Heian period, no longer exists. It was made in "concertina" or orihon style: several sheets of paper pasted together and folded alternately in one direction then the other. The work is a unique depiction of the lifestyles of high courtiers during the Heian period. It is written in archaic language and a poetic yet confusing style that make it unreadable to the average Japanese speaker without specialized study. It was not until the early 20th century that Genji was translated into modern Japanese by the poet Akiko Yosano. The first English translation was attempted in 1882 but was of poor quality and incomplete.

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<i>Hunger</i> (Hamsun novel)

Hunger is a novel by the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun published in 1890. Extracts from the work had previously been published anonymously in the Danish magazine Ny Jord in 1888. The novel has been hailed as the literary opening of the 20th century and an outstanding example of modern, psychology-driven literature. Hunger portrays the irrationality of the human mind in an intriguing and sometimes humorous manner.

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References

  1. A Handbook to Literature Fourth Edition (1980), C. Hugh Holma, Ed., pp. 357–358.
  2. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory Third Edition (1991) J.A. Cuddon, Ed. p. 756.
  3. W. J. Leatherbarrow (18 July 2002). The Cambridge Companion to Dostoevskii. Cambridge University Press. p. 134. ISBN   978-0-521-65473-9.
  4. Jorge Luis Borges, The Total Library:
    [The Tale of Genji, as translated by Arthur Waley,] is written with an almost miraculous naturalness, and what interests us is not the exoticism the horrible word but rather the human passions of the novel. Such interest is just: Murasaki's work is what one would quite precisely call a psychological novel. ... I dare to recommend this book to those who read me. The English translation that has inspired this brief insufficient note is called The Tale of Genji.
  5. Paul Schellinger, ed. (2014). "Psychological Novel and Roman d'analyse". Encyclopedia of the Novel. Routledge. p. 1057. ISBN   9781135918262.
  6. Logan, Peter Melville; George, Olakunle; Hegeman, Susan; et al., eds. (2011). "Northern Europe". The Encyclopedia of the Novel, A–Li. Blackwell Publishing. p. 583. ISBN   978-1-4051-6184-8 . Retrieved 6 February 2012. The most significant novelist of the Scandinavian countries is Knut Hamsun, who almost singlehandedly created the modern psychological novel through the publication of four works that probe the human subconscious, Sult (1890, Hunger), Mysterier (1892, Mysteries), Pan (1894), and Victoria (1898).
  7. N. Baym, et al. Eds. The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Shorter Seventh Edition, New York: W.W. Norton Co. 2008, p. 1697
  8. Christopher Pittard, Blackwell Reference, Psychological Thrillers, Accessed November 3, 2013, "...characteristics of the genre as “a dissolving sense of reality; reticence in moral pronouncements; obsessive, pathological characters; the narrative privileging of complex, tortured relationships” ( Munt 1994)..."
  9. "Subgenre - Psychological Drama". AllMovie. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  10. Movies, All (24 February 2020). "Science Fiction » Psychological Sci-Fi". AllMovies.

Further reading