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The Art of Fiction

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,490 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Revised, updated, enlarged, and published for the first time in book form--50 of critic and novelist Lodge's articles on the art of fiction from the acclaimed series that ran for 50 weeks in the Washington Post and the London Independent. Topics range from Dickens and Hemingway to Paul Auster and Fay Weldon.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 1st 1993 by Viking Books (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nandakishore Varma
Literary criticism is often daunting for a novice. I have ploughed through a lot of serious critical tomes in my life (most of them in Malayalam) to enhance my reading experience, but I must confess that I have been only partly successful: many of those erudite essays were way over my head. And when it comes to literary theory, I must shamefacedly say that I have still not understood the difference between “Classicism”, “Modernism” and “Post-Modernism”. Any mention of “Deconstruction” is enough ...more
Apr 28, 2015 Sunil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
The very fact that the book has compelled me to put down my thoughts here when I've barely finished reading a quarter of it should reflect on how much a wonderful read it is.

What David Lodge has done is quite simple - he has chosen a variety of styles in fiction eg intrusive author, unreliable narrator, suspense, symbolism, magical realism, interior monologue etc and illustrated each of them with a passage taken from a well known book with a succinct missive to go with them.

The beauty of the b
Ian Laird
David Lodge’s book has made me think differently about my reading: indeed to read differently.

Lodge examines aspects of approach and technique authors use to enhance our understanding of what they do to tell their fictional stories. He does not deconstruct so much as analyse the angles we can use to understand and appreciate fiction. And he provides some telling examples. He talks about, among other things: beginning, ending, the intrusive author, the stream of consciousness approach, place, wea
Pooya Kiani
ترجیح میدم نکتهای اشاره کنم
نقاط قوت کتاب:
- تعدد نکات و متنها، آشنایی مخاطب با یک گسترهی خوب از نویسندههایی که مورد علاقهی مخاطب بریتانیاییان.
- درکِ «از درونِ» دیوید لاج از نویسندگی و ترفندهاش.
- انتخاب درست سرفصلها و حیطهها.
- پوشش شیوههای رماننویسی از کلاسیک تا پساپستمدرنیته!
نقاط ضعف:
- ترجمهی (نه نامفهوم، ولی) سرشار از غلط، کژفهمی و نابلدیِ مترجم پرمدعا.
- زیادتر از حد بریتانیایی و انگلیسیزبانمحور بودنِ مولف. مثل قریب به اتفاق مولفهای انگلیسی و امریکایی.
- واکاوی معلموار و نه منتقدانهی خیلی از نکا
May 20, 2015 Caroline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: miscellaneous
I'm not in the mood for fiction at the moment - I know, that is a ridiculously sweeping thing to say, but really I'm not. I had hoped that in reading this basic introduction to literary criticism that I might have a surge of wonder and excitement, see all that I was missing, and rush out and bury myself in a novel.

It was not to be. I huffed and puffed my way from chapter to chapter, feeling irritated and disgruntled. Firstly by the extracts from various novels - none of which appealed - and then
Jul 18, 2015 Laleh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
من با ترجمه ی تحت اللفظیش خیلی مشکل داشتم با اینکه مترجم از ترجمه های موجود در بازار ایراد گرفته بود.
کتاب خوب بود. چیزایی که باید بگه رو گفته بود. مثلا اینکه داستان نویسی یاد دادنی نیست.
I’m taking another online course at Oxford University (continuing education) this fall, and one of the books we have to read for the course is this one. I knew of David Lodge already but have never read anything by him. I love reading literary critique, or whatever you would call this compilation of extracts analyzed with different literary perspectives, especially when the author of the book is also a writer and can thus appreciate and not merely analyze the texts. The book is a relatively smal ...more
N.J. Ramsden
I've dipped into this many times during my days of teaching Creative Writing, not to use as a foundation for classes so much as backup material, or the illumination of sidelines. Lodge covers pretty good ground, and though his selection of texts is reasonable, it's not exciting – and while he's on top of his material, and his analyses of his chosen pieces are astute, again there's a kind of safety to much of it that renders these essays informative and interesting, but not exactly inspiring.

If t
Sep 23, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Lodge is a very clearly erudite author. These essays are interesting for his insights and thought-provoking in terms of understanding how fiction is built by smart writers. Still, Lodge's occasional forays into conversation about his own work have a smack of arrogance that left me disappointed. Also, he refers at one point to Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Days of Solitude. Did no editor, in all of the reprintings of this book, notice and correct Days to Years? Or have most people not actu ...more
Mar 16, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cover of this collection of essays features a striking image by Van Gogh of a woman reading a novel. Her surroundings are strongly lit by a bright light, while she herself, her face especially, is in shadow (you can still see the anxiety in her face); the only blemish for me is the clumsily rendered fingers of her left hand.

In a way this perfectly captures the impact of this non-fiction study: a lot of light is thrown on how British and American writers achieve the effects that are found in
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Art of Fiction: Illustrated from Classic and Modern Texts, David Lodge
عنوان: هنر داستاننویسی: با نمونههایی از متنهای کلاسیک و مدرن؛ نویسنده: دیوید لاج؛ مترجم: رضا رضایی؛ تهران، نشر نی، 1391، 424 ص
S.j. Hirons
Aug 12, 2007 S.j. Hirons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Got me through college, man. Eventually I got my dog-eared copy signed by the man himself when he gave a talk at Warwick Uni.
Mary Catelli
Feb 14, 2015 Mary Catelli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-crit
A series of themes that feature in fiction. Starting with "Beginnings" and ending with "Endings."

Cites a lot of classic works, but also some modern ones, and his own works, especially when he wants to talk about the writing process, which naturally, he knows better in his own works. Such as how he was stymied on a character's name until he found that Robin was sometimes a woman's name, short for Roberta.

Ranges all over from Weather to Intertextuality. Tends toward the literary. Some are more int
Ricardo Silva
Sep 02, 2013 Ricardo Silva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a re-reading and I must confess that I also haven't really finished it yet, although I read almost all of it.

This is not a book you should read from beginning to end. "The Art of Ficton" is a really useful book for anyone who already has learned how to do creative writing but still needs to polish the technical part of writing. When I first read it, more or less a year ago, it was a pirate .pdf copy of the book. Back then I decided to read it out of curiosity, right after reading "Chagi
Robert C.
Sep 11, 2015 Robert C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I simply love the way that David Lodge writes fiction so it is very fitting that he should be the one to write a book about the art of writing fiction.

He's very good at writing non-fiction too. Everything he explains in this book is done so using language that is clean, clear and easy to understand, and although this book didn't inspire me to write anything (aside from this review) it did give me some good ideas of what to write about.

When I actually get around to doing it that is.

I'm not sure w
Graham Salisbury
This book originated in the early 1990's when David Lodge was invited by the Independent on Sunday to contribute a series of weekly articles in which he chose a literary topic (such as Beginnings, Mystery, A Sense of Place, Allegory or Endings) and illustrated this with one or two short extracts from relatively well-known novels.

The constraint of a short weekly newspaper column has demanded that Lodge restricts his comments and analysis to the most significant elements of the passages that he h
Jul 31, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Dai Xianglong
Shelves: books-on-books
Professor and novelist David Lodge, in plain, clear prose unadorned by the baubles and thorns of academese, explains a variety of basic literary terms and ideas using examples from (mostly) the classic novels. Sample: "Metafiction is fiction about fiction: novels and stories that call attention to their fictional status and their own compositional procedures." Each short chapter (they were originally newspaper columns) begins with a longish excerpt from literature.

The book is occasionally marred
Toni Cifuentes
Jun 29, 2015 Toni Cifuentes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cualquiera a quien le guste escribir, leer o ambas cosas.
Un libro completísimo. He tardado mucho en leerlo porque es de estos libros que puedes ir leyendo poco a poco. Mediante el análisis de pequeños fragmentos de diferentes escritos y autores, conocemos técnicas, corrientes literarias, autores desconocidos y más conocidos, estructuras, técnicas, tropos, casi todo lo concerniente al arte de escribir de una forma enormemente entretenida.
Sep 23, 2010 Randy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The essays are short, concise, occasionally illuminating. Great for an undergrad. But perhaps a bit undercooked for the graduate or advanced reader--it is likely that this sort of person has already encountered or understands the concepts David Lodge touches on in his essays. You also will not find many contemporary samples--lots of Austen, Henry James, Fielding, and George Eliot. All excellent writers, of course. But the reliance on them gives the essays a whiff of that musty dusty smell we've ...more
Lauren Fidler
reevaluating my AP summer reading...

i like that this text offers excerpts that illustrate its main points in addition to tautly written chapters defining each subject.

i just don't know if i like it more than my current Foster text.

Jun 26, 2015 Jey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
A great book for writers and literature students.
Jan 13, 2016 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

David Lodge’s book ‘The Art of Fiction’ covers a wide range of topics from lists, intrusive author, magic realism, point of view and so forth. The chapters are short and easy to understand. I liked the one on Lists.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night the reader learns what Nicole bought from ‘a great list that ran two pages.’ We also learn the ‘sweat shop conditions’ under which these products were made and how the workers were exploited:
'With Nicole’s help Rosemary bought two dresses
Malek Al Lahham
Jul 06, 2012 Malek Al Lahham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
some techniques and articles , of how to write and understand the Novel.
Though i studied it in my major as English Literature, but i come back to it to re-read it again, because it builds a solid basic information of understanding the techniques of novel writing.
thanks to my professor to whom i owe a great thanks for making me a great lover to this book and other similar books, Mr. Riyadh Mathkaloun
Apr 25, 2012 Jm_oriol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esta formado por una serie de artículos reunidos en forma de libro, que van examinando diferentes técnicas literarias.

Todos tiene la misma forma, a partir de un párrafo de una obra, comenta el concepto en cuestión. A pesar de ser ligeros, me lo he pasado muy bien leyendo los diferentes recursos a los que normalmente no presto atención, concentrado como estoy en la historia.
ماهر Battuti
كتاب رائع فى تبويبه عن فن الرواية والقصة . وقد بلغ إعجابى به أن قمت بترجمته الى العربية وصدر عن المشروع القومى للترحمة بالقاهرة.
ويتقسم الكتاب الى خمسين فصلا ، يقوم المؤلف فى كل فصل بتناول ناحية خاصة فى التأليف الروائى . وقد جدد من ذلك التناول ، ففى فصل يعالج اعتماد على الرسائل ، وعلى التليفون ، وهكذا . وهو من الضروريات لكل من يريد التعرف على فنون كتابة الرواية
May 26, 2013 Antonio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this an interesting and illustrative text, full of good reading recommendations. Lodge's style is clear and his erudition on the English novel is remarkable.
Feb 14, 2014 Roozbeh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
مباحث کتاب خیلی جذاباند، اما بسیار مختصر به آنها پرداخته شده.
ترجمۀ رضا رضایی عالی است و فهرستهای انتهای کتاب دقیق تنظیم شدهاند.
Apr 15, 2016 Ahmed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
The book is really important as it covers a lot of literary devices / styles from the beginning of the novel till the contemporary novel. Some of these devices that caught my attention are.....
1. The intrusive author. Here the author speaks directly to the readers or even comment on what the characters have said. He sheds light on the writing process. Other times it is the narrator does that. Like in Slaughterhouse Five the narrator, which many critics believe that he is the author, is the one w
Kate Goodrum
I liked the fact that David Lodge explored many components of fiction through the means of presenting a suitable extract and then discussing the relevant element; this gave the book a clear and effective structure.

I found it slightly cringey how often Lodge referred to his own work. Whilst I am sure that they are probably worth reading in their own rights, I found it uncomfortable how he himself put them alongside both the classics and modern classics.

I found that at the end of some chapters I
Dec 30, 2009 Raul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of texts on literary criticisms which the author had published in the form of a weekly column on a newspaper.

The first chapter is entitled "The beginning", and the last chapter is entitled "The end". There are 50 chapters in total, and they all deal with different aspects of the art of fiction: suspense, surprise, introduction of characters, time, repetitions, intertextuality, unreliable narrator, stream of consciousness, metafiction, etc. etc., giving examples from cla
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  • Aspects of the Novel
  • How Novels Work
  • An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory
  • The Creative Writing Coursebook: Forty Authors Share Advice and Exercises for Fiction and Poetry
  • Bound to Please: An Extraordinary One-Volume Literary Education
  • Beginning Theory
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  • Morphology of the folktale
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  • The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction
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  • Lectures on Literature
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Professor David Lodge is a graduate and Honorary Fellow of University College London. He is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham, where he taught from 1960 until 1987, when he retired to write full-time.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was Chairman of the Judges for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989, and is the author of numerous works of li
More about David Lodge...

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“What do we mean - it is a common term of praise - when we say that a book is "original"? Not, usually, that the writer has invented something without precedent, but that she has made us "perceive" what we already, in a conceptual sense, "know", by deviating from the conventional, habitual ways of representing reality. Defamiliarization, in short, is another word for "originality". I shall have recourse to it again in these glances at the art of fiction.” 4 likes
“J. D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield is a literary descendant of Huck Finn: more educated and sophisticated, the son of affluent New Yorkers, but like Huck a youthful runaway from a world of adult hypocrisy, venality and, to use one of his own favourite words, phoniness. What particularly appals Holden is the eagerness of his peers to adopt that corrupt grownup behaviour.” 3 likes
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