The Discovery of Point of View

Observation and Narration in the American Novel 1790–1910

1. Edition, 2011
419 Pages

ISBN: 978-3-8253-5854-9
Product: Book
Edition: Hardcover
Subject: Anglistik/Amerikanistik
Series: American Studies – A Monograph Series, Volume No.: 197
Available: 24.03.2011

Keywords: Poe, Edgar Allan, Hawthorne, Nathaniel, James, Henry, Melville, Herman, Erzählperspektive, Point of View, amerikanische Literatur /19. Jahrhundert, Perspektivität, literarische, Visualität

The nineteenth century, like no century before or after, witnessed a revolution in narrative devices differentiating perspective and focalization. While narratives of the 1790s were all but dominated by either strictly authorial, confessional or epistolary formats, the entire gamut of modernist techniques had evolved by 1910: interior focalization, figuralization and reflectorization, stream of consciousness, unreliable narration, the dual voice. This book explores the reasons for this development, drawing on Niklas Luhmann's theory of second-order observation and the historical changes in visuality and spectatorship. It historicizes the emergence of point of view as a central narrative technique and as theoretical concept in literature, but also in philosophy, physiology, optics, psychology and sociology. From the rise of the novel in England it traces the sources and modes of complex literary perspectives through Romanticism and the American Renaissance to the modernist novels of Henry James.

Michael Basseler in: Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift, Bd. 63, Heft 1 (2013), 161ff

Christof Decker in: Anglia, Vol. 130 (2012), Heft 2, 316ff