The Art of Fiction (book)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Art of Fiction is a book of literary criticism by the British novelist David Lodge. The chapters of the book first appeared in 1991-1992 as weekly columns in The Independent on Sunday and were eventually gathered into book form and published in 1992. The essays as they appear in the book have in many cases been expanded from their original format.

Lodge focuses each chapter upon one aspect of the art of fiction, comprising some fifty topics. Every chapter also begins with a passage from classic or modern literature that Lodge feels embodies the technique or topic at hand. Some of the topics Lodge analyzes are Beginning (the first chapter), The Intrusive Author, The Epistolary Novel, Magic Realism, Irony and Metafiction. Among the authors he quotes in order to illustrate his points are Jane Austen, J. D. Salinger, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Martin Amis, F. Scott Fitzgerald and even himself.


  1. Beginning Jane Austen Emma, Ford Madox Ford, " Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich ..."
  2. The Intrusive Author George Eliot, E. M. Forster
  3. Suspense Thomas Hardy
  4. Teenage Skaz J. D. Salinger
  5. The Epistolary Novel Michael Frayn
  6. Point of View Henry James
  7. Mystery Rudyard Kipling
  8. Names David Lodge, Paul Auster
  9. The Stream of Consciousness Virginia Woolf
  10. Interior Monologue James Joyce
  11. Defamiliarisation Charlotte Brontë
  12. The Sense of Place Martin Amis
  13. Lists F. Scott Fitzgerald
  14. Introducing a Character Christopher Isherwood
  15. Surprise William Makepeace Thackeray
  16. Time-Shift Muriel Spark
  17. The Reader in the Text Laurence Sterne
  18. Weather Jane Austen, Charles Dickens
  19. Repetition Ernest Hemingway
  20. Fancy Prose Vladimir Nabokov
  21. Intertextuality Joseph Conrad
  22. The Experimental Novel Henry Green
  23. The Comic Novel Kingsley Amis
  24. Magic Realism Milan Kundera
  25. Staying on the Surface Malcolm Bradbury
  26. Showing and Telling Henry Fielding
  27. Telling in Different Voices Fay Weldon
  28. A Sense of the Past John Fowles
  29. Imagining the Future George Orwell
  30. Symbolism D. H. Lawrence
  31. Allegory Samuel Butler
  32. Epiphany John Updike
  33. Coincidence Henry James
  34. The Unreliable Narrator Kazuo Ishiguro
  35. The Exotic Graham Greene
  36. Chapters etc. Tobias Smollett, Laurence Sterne, Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot, James Joyce
  37. The Telephone Evelyn Waugh
  38. Surrealism Leonora Carrington
  39. Irony Arnold Bennett
  40. Motivation George Eliot
  41. Duration Donald Barthelme
  42. Implication William Cooper
  43. The Title George Gissing
  44. Ideas Anthony Burgess
  45. The Non-Fiction Novel Thomas Carlyle
  46. Metafiction John Barth
  47. The Uncanny Edgar Allan Poe
  48. Narrative Structure Leonard Michaels
  49. Aporia Samuel Beckett
  50. Ending Jane Austen, William Golding

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