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Conceiving Modern Narrative

  • Daniel Punday
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Abstract

In the last decades of the seventeenth and the first decades of the eighteenth centuries, European thought saw the emergence of the idea of a “world” in many fields. In Germany, G.W. Leibniz theorized the concept of “possible worlds”—the idea that our reality can be viewed as one of a nearly infinite number of possible other states of being through which God sorted in the process of deciding how the human world should unfold (1686). In Italy, Giambattista Vico proposed studying the history of human societies in contextualist terms—emphasizing, in other words, attention to the particular “world” in which people within a particular society at a particular time operated (1725).1 In France, Madame de Lafayette wrote La Princesse de Clèves (1678), often considered the first modern European novel because of its treatment of character psychology, thus ushering in an artistic period, which continues today, of constructing texts for mass consumption that transport readers into a “world” described through a character’s distinct, personal perspective.2 At about the same time as these changes, scientists began to develop modern theories of human reproduction by postulating the existence of the female egg and shortly after using the newly developed microscope to study the composition of sperm. Although it would be some time before the biology of reproduction was fully understood, the basic components of human generation were discovered by the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Narrative Text Narrative Structure Human Identity Sexual Generation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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1 Conceiving Modern Narrative

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© Daniel Punday 2003

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