One vs. the Many
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One vs. the Many

Minor Characters and the Space of the Protagonist in the Novel
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Alex Woloch
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PROLOGUE: The Iliad's Two Wars 1The Proem 1When Achilles Disappears: A Reading of Book 2 3The Death of Lykaon 8
INTRODUCTION: Characterization and Distribution 12Character-Space: Between Person and Form 12Characterization and the Antinomies of Theory 14"They Too Should Have a Case" 21Two Kinds of Minorness 24Function and Alienation: The Labor Theory of Character 26Realism, Democracy, and Inequality 30Austen, Dickens, Balzac: Character-Space in the Nineteenth-Century Novel 32The Minor Character: Between Story and Discourse 37

CHAPTER ONE: Narrative Asymmetry in Pride and Prejudice 43Minor Characters in a Narrative Structure 43The Double Meaning of Character 50The One vs. the Many 56Asymmetry: From Discourse to Story 62Characterizing Minorness 1: Compression 68The Space of the Protagonist 1: Elizabeth's Consciousness 77Characterizing Minorness 2: Externality 82Helpers: Charlotte Lucas and the Actantial Theory 88The Space of the Protagonist 2: Elizabeth's Self-Consciousness 97Wickham: "How He Lived I Know Not" 103Minor Minor Characters: Representing Multiplicity 116

CHAPTER TWO: Making More of Minor Characters 125Distorted Characters and the Weak Protagonist 125Between Jingle and Joe: Asymmetry and Misalignment in The Pickwick Papers 133Seeing into Sight: Mr. Elton and Uriah Heep 143Partial Visibility and Incomplete Vision: The Appearance of Minor Characters 149Repetition and Eccentricity: Minor Characters and the Division of Labor 155"Monotonous Emphasis": Minorness and Three Kinds of Repetition 167

CHAPTER THREE: Partings Welded Together: The Character-System in Great Expectations 177Between Two Roaring Worlds: Exteriority and Characterization 177The Structure of Childhood Experience 188Interpreting the Character-System: Signification, Position, Structure 194Metaphor, Metonymy, and Characterization 198Getting to London 207Three Narrative Workers and the Dispersion of Labor in Great Expectations 213Wemmick as Helper (the Functional Minor Character) 214Magwitch's Return (the Marginal Minor Character) 217Orlick and Social Multiplicity (the Fragmented Minor Character) 224The Double: A Narrative Condition? 238

CHAPTER FOUR: A qui la place?: Characterization and Competition in Le Père Goriot and La Comédie humaine 244Typification and Multiplicity 244The Problem: Who Is the Hero? 244Character, Type, Crowd 246Balzac's Double Vision 255The Character-System in Le Père Goriot 260La belle loi de soi pour soi 260Goriot: The Interior as Exterior 265Rastignac: The Exterior as Interior 267Between the Exterior and the Interior 272Interiority and Centrality in Le Père Goriot and King Lear 282The Shrapnel of Le Père Goriot 288Recurring Characters, Le Père Goriot, and the Origins of La Comédie humaine 288The Social Representation of Death: Le Père Goriot and Le Cousin Pons 295Cogs in the Machine: Les Poiret between Le Père Goriot and Les Employeés 303Competition and Character in Les Employeés 308

AFTERWORD: Sophocles's Oedipus Rex and the Prehistory of the Protagonist 319Notes 337Works Cited 375Acknowledgments 383Index 385
Does a novel focus on one life or many? Alex Woloch uses this simple question to develop a powerful new theory of the realist novel, based on how narratives distribute limited attention among a crowded field of characters. His argument has important implications for both literary studies and narrative theory.

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