Posing new questions about realism and the creative power of narratives, Rosa Mucignat takes a fresh look at the relationship between representation and reality. As Mucignat points out, worlds evoked in fiction all depend to a greater or lesser extent on the world we know from experience, but they are neither parasites on nor copies of those realms. Never fully aligned with the real world, stories grow out of the mismatch between reality and representation-those areas of the fictional space that are not located on actual maps, but still form a fully structured imagined geography. Mucignat offers new readings of six foundational texts of modern Western culture: Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed, Stendahl'ss The Red and the Black, Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, and Gustave Flaubert's Sentimental Education. Using these texts as source material and supporting evidence for a new and comprehensive theory of space in fiction, she examines the links between the nineteenth-century novel's interest in creating substantial, life-like worlds and contemporary developments in science, art, and society. Mucignat's book is an evocative analysis of the way novels marshal their technical and stylistic resources to produce imagined geographies so complex and engrossing that they intensify and even transform the reader's experience of real-life places.
'Mucignat’s book advances a compelling argument about the manner in which narrativized space was transformed in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century novels. Moreover, Mucignat’s division of narrativized space into visibility, depth and movement provides a useful tool for engaging with the complexity of space in literature in general.' BARS Bulletin ’Mucignat’s readings are informative and well researched ... scholars of nineteenth-century fiction, especially those working on texts in the corpus, will find much of interest here.’ Modern Language Review ’...Mucignat’s work is valuable not only for its close inspection of space in literature from eighteenth to nineteenth century, but also insofar as it implicitly discusses how these works of fiction act as a prelude to Modernism.’ Journal of Comparative Literature 'This book is well organized and clearly written. The argument is illuminating and suggestive about the novels it covers and the realist novel more generally.' European Romantic Review