Ian Watt (1917-99) was a Professor of Humanities at Stanford University. During the Second World War he worked as a prisoner on the construction of the notorious Burma Railway before turning to the study of English literature. The Rise of the Novel (1957) was the first of a dozen books he wrote and is widely regarded as the seminal work in the study of the novel. His other books include Conrad in the Nineteenth Century (1979), Conrad: Nostromo (1988) and Myths of Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan and Robinson Crusoe (1998).
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