Fiction as Lit crit

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This old thread had a look at remakes/retellings
book remakes?

you don't exist in the database (woof), Thursday, 27 October 2011 10:22 (ten years ago) link

chimera, obvs.

strongo hulkington's ghost dad, Friday, 28 October 2011 02:42 (ten years ago) link

A few:

Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Grey
Joyce - Ulysses
Virginia Woolf - Orlando
Proust - A la recherche...
Anthony Burgess - Earthly Powers

lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 28 October 2011 02:44 (ten years ago) link

Nicholson Baker - The Anthologist, for sure.
Jeanette Winterson - Art and Lies, maybe others?

your way better (Eazy), Friday, 28 October 2011 05:05 (ten years ago) link

ten years pass...

A thought comes to me again. Roughly this:

When talking about a work of fiction, especially a satirical or speculative one, the impulse exists to say: "what this allegory shows is that in the real world, X is the case". This could even be something like "what the extremity of the poles / sides in this satirical fiction shows us is that in real life, things don't need to be so extreme and we should be more tolerant and open".

Yet this seems to come across as bad literary criticism. Probably, in part, because it implies paraphrasing a work of art (not that all fiction aims so high) into a separable meaning, which is somewhat heretical. And yet, quite often a strong sense of reading such a work is indeed "I see what this distorted version of the world is actually telling me about reality: I can draw an implicit message from it, which I may agree with".

I feel as though criticism is stuck between the impulse to paraphrase thus, as a way of reporting truthfully on what's important in a text, and the feeling that to do so is reductive and clumsy at best.

the pinefox, Monday, 27 June 2022 21:47 (two months ago) link

Plays on realism or on writing may have come about as a reaction to this and an attempt to assert how things could be if x and y were true or we communicated like this. The logical conclusion of x and y is z, and x and y are plausible and are like and unlike the real world.

youn, Monday, 27 June 2022 23:03 (two months ago) link

I think the difference is in where you are grounded and how much the real and imaginary worlds define.

youn, Monday, 27 June 2022 23:07 (two months ago) link

Any representation involves reduction, but the ideal is a compression into diamonds, or some kind of clarity, value to be determined, if you're so inclined.
Example of fiction as lit crit: Don Quixote was supposed to be a takeoff on themes of chivalry, as presented in what was considered art as well as trash, also on what this effect had on audience, the way some of them ran with it. Right?

dow, Tuesday, 28 June 2022 00:01 (two months ago) link

what effect *this* ( chivalry in art & other) had on its audience, that is.

dow, Tuesday, 28 June 2022 00:03 (two months ago) link

Poster Dow: AFAIK part II of Quixote reflects on part I -- but I'm afraid I haven't yet read it.

re my comment above, another relevant word would be 'parable'.

Some writers explicitly write parables of some kind: Borges, Kafka. Others might write stories that we loosely say are parables of something. But ... the critic is forbidden to explain the parable? That seems like something that could itself be made into a parable.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 28 June 2022 10:51 (two months ago) link


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