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Confused Epiphanies

L'abbé Prévost and the Romance Tradition

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Carol M. Lazzaro-Weis

Until now, Prévost's critics have had to resort to philosophical or biographical reduction to explain the many anomalies and contradictions found in his works. By contrast, Lazzaro-Weis identifies the primary literary force that shapes Prévost's fiction as the romance. She traces the tradition from its beginning in the early Greek and Roman prose narratives through its permutations in selected sixteenth and seventeenth century French and Italian romances. Lazzaro-Weis then reads Cleveland and Le Doyen de Killerine in detail and shows how these works need to be read as romances if critics are to understand and appreciate the displacements and innovations Prévost effected in the form.