To chart accurately the contours of the novel, literary historians are in the process of recovering the variety and complexity of its generic practice across its history. "Narratology in the Archive" surveys this recovery and discusses its methodology, differentiating this recovery from symptomatic reading. The article then illustrates this method with the recovery of sea adventure fiction as an influential transnational practice of the novel from Defoe to Conrad. I suggest that sea adventure plots are defined by readers' playful manipulation of information to solve problems posed by the text.

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