First published in 1969, this book asserts that two concepts, structure and praxis, make it impractical for scholars to ignore the necessity of a theory of the novel — with the term ‘classical novel’ used to cover western fiction. The author argues that the novel is fundamentally an ‘enterprise’ — an aspect of the praxis of a particular social class — and that the ways of orthodox scholarship are also a praxis. The investigator must enquire into the nature of their questions as those traditionally put to literature are inspired by ‘irrelevant’ nineteenth century positivism. In the author’s view the book is necessarily a theory of the classical novel and a manifesto for the student movement.

Chapter 1 Some preliminary notions, Everett Knight; Chapter 2 Further preliminaries, Everett Knight; Chapter 3 The classical novel as an art form, Everett Knight; Chapter 4 Balzac, Flaubert, Zola, Stendhal, Everett Knight; Chapter 5 The case of Dickens, Everett Knight; Chapter 6 Conclusion, Everett Knight;