Newspapers and novels both tend to run long, but they accomplish their protractions by means so different as to seem at first glance diametrically opposed—the paper by its steady pulse of publication across an open-ended span, the novel by something more like sprawl. Despite these differences, though, the temporalities of newspaper and novel entail considerable crossover. My piece sketches how the timings of the printed news—the rhythms of picking up and putting down, the mesh of ending and not-ending, the play of pulse and sprawl—may have infused the workings of the novel. I deploy, as treasure maps for the whole phenomenon, two acutely comic parables of modern reading proffered, exactly half a century apart, in the pages of the Tatler and Tristram Shandy.
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Stuart Sherman; “My Contemporaries the Novelists”: Isaac Bickerstaff, Uncle Toby, and the Play of Pulse and Sprawl. Novel 1 May 2010; 43 (1): 107–115. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-2009-070
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