Begetting the Novel; or: On the Conception and Reproduction of a Literary Genre


  • Stefania Consonni Università degli studi di Bergamo

Parole chiave:

Novel, Generation, Hybridisation, Narrative morphology, Genre


By means of an in-depth, multi-level metafictional analysis of an exemplary case study, Jeffrey Eugenides’ Pulitzer-winning novel Middlesex (2002), this contribution aims at testing the historiographical and critical affordances of the ‘literature/generation nexus’, i.e., the culturalist reading of literature through the phenomenology and history of generations, and vice versa. The study’s purpose is a twofold one. It firstly and generally aims at exploring the metalinguistic tools offered by this methodology, with a view to identifying and solidifying several key critical tropes, such as tradition vs. innovation, ancestry vs. evolution, heritage vs. transformation, recessiveness vs. dominance, perpetuation vs. discontinuity, etc. Secondly, and more specifically, it seeks to shed light on the conception, reproduction, birth and growth of the novel form itself as a privileged creature in the modern generational (as well as cultural) ecosystem. The semantic intertwining of ‘genre’, ‘gender’ and ‘genius’ displayed by the examined case study – a chain of meanings that is actually among the most fruitful heritage of the Latin term generāre (“to beget”) – will be showcased as a prominent aspect of the novel form as a “synthesis of the heterogenetous” (Ricoeur 1984), and as a privileged laboratory for practices of contamination, hybridisation, cross-fertilisation (Bakhtin 1979), since its very inception in the early eighteenth century.

Biografia autore

Stefania Consonni, Università degli studi di Bergamo

Stefania Consonni insegna Lingua e linguistica inglese all'Università degli studi di Bergamo. Si occupa di paradigmi testuali e narratologia; semiotica del linguaggio verbale e visivo in prospettiva sistemico-funzionale; processi di risemiotizzazione; teoria e storia della spazializzazione e della multimodalità; analisi critico-culturalista della discorsività, del metadiscorso e della comunicazione specialistica; teoria e storia del romanzo; morfologia, tipologia, semiotica, pragmatica ed epistemologia dei generi nel discorso scientifico, accademico, artistico, estetico, letterario, procedurale, mediatico e ludico. Fa parte del Centro di Ricerca sui Linguaggi Specialistici (CERLIS), del team di ricerca UniBg Eye-Tracking Lab, del consorzio interaccademico CLAVIER-Corpus and Language Variation in English Research, e della redazione di diverse riviste, fra cui JCaDS-Journal of Corpora and Discourse Studies (University of Cardiff), CERLIS Series e Ibérica (European Association of Languages for Specific Purposes).

Klaus Nielsen, Pexels




Come citare

Consonni, S. (2023). Begetting the Novel; or: On the Conception and Reproduction of a Literary Genre. Elephant & Castle, (31). Recuperato da