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The Family Novel

Toward a Generic Definition

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Yi-Ling Ru

This book is a comparative study of the family novel as a distinctive literary genre. It concentrates on three prototypical family novels, the Chinese trilogy, The Turbulent Trilogy (1906-1940) by Pa Chin; the British trilogy, The Forsyte Saga (1906-1921) by John Galsworthy; and the French novel, Les Thibault (1922-1940) by Roger Martin du Gard. The book argues for the establishment of a new generic category, the Family Novel as a sub-genre of the novel. It describes the four distinctive characteristics; its realism and use of chronology; its sense of ritual and community; the centrality of family conflict; and its unique form.