The International Novel Annabel Patterson

Publication date:
13 Nov 2014
Yale University Press
272 pages: 210 x 140 x 17mm
9 b-w maps
Sales territories:

Annabel Patterson here turns her well-known concern with political history in early modern England into an engine for investigating our own era and a much wider terrain. The focus of this book is, broadly, nationalism and internationalism today, approached not theoretically but through the lens of fiction. Novels are uniquely capable of dealing with abstract problems by embodying them in the experience of persons, thereby rendering them more “real.” Patterson takes twelve novels from (almost) all over the world: India, Africa, Turkey, Crete, the Balkans, Palestine, Afghanistan, South America, and Mexico, novels which illustrate the dire effects of some of the following: imperialism, partition, annexation, ethnic and religious strife, boundaries redrawn by aggression, the virus of dictatorships, the vulnerability of small countries, and the meddling of the Great Powers. All are highly instructive, and excellent reads.

Annabel Patterson is Sterling Professor Emeritus of English at Yale University. She has written over a dozen books on early British literature, portraits, politics, parliamentary history, and law. She lives in Connecticut.

"Annabel Patterson, leading expert on politics in Renaissance literature, has produced a dazzling study of modern world fiction, each novel shown to expose (often through lush, confident technique) the persistent violence that infests the relations between bigger and smaller nations and puts the hand of death on countless lives."—Nigel Smith, Princeton University.

“With her characteristic verve and thoughtfulness, Annabel Patterson makes a powerful case for the international novel as a source of geopolitical awareness.  Close analysis provides contexts for understanding both the idiosyncrasies of the chosen works and their shared interest in questions relating to colonialism, national history, ethnicity, gender, territorialism, and religious divides.  This is an important and provocative study, of admirable reach and directness, written by a scholar who brings fresh insight to familiar and less well-known novels.”—April London, University of Ottawa