A way with words II : approaches to literature - download pdf or read online

By Michael D.C. Drout, Recorded Books

ISBN-10: 1428173943

ISBN-13: 9781428173941

ISBN-10: 1428173951

ISBN-13: 9781428173958

Is literature a type of lie? Can fiction ever be "realistic"? Why will we learn? What may still we learn? Professor Drout offers perception into those and different provocative questions, together with these relating to the function of the textual content, writer, and viewers within the interpreting process.

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Sample text

This is a very clever aesthetic, but it is not the only one. Good genre writers like William Gibson and Neal Stephenson in science fiction and Tolkien and Ursula K. Le Guin in fantasy do something else. They do not reinvent the genre, but they can use its conventions to good effect. Genre fiction also focuses on different aspects of the world than do mainstream works: science fiction is engaged with big ideas; fantasy with nostalgia, action, otherworldly beauty and immortality; detective fiction with keeping the reader guessing; horror with scaring people.

Partly, the epistolary and feigned manuscript traditions are attempts to bring verisimilitude to novels, but I doubt that many readers actually think that the author has found, rather than is inventing, these texts. Rather, the tradition of letters or a manuscript just being transcribed builds up new kinds of irony, either because the author or the characters or the feigned author knows some things and not others that are different from what the readers know. Both epistolary novels and feigned manuscripts also act as a kind of “frame narrative” (as we have discussed previously) that adds a layer of complexity to a text as well as creating interesting problems of authority and ownership.

Chaucer got this idea from Boccacio’s Decameron, and it has influenced many, many writers, including William Faulkner, who gave the frame narrative its own twist in As I Lay Dying: the entire story is told from multiple points of view, all eventually pulling together to give us a single story of the death of Addy Bundren and the transportation of her rotting corpse to her family’s ancestral cemetery. Frame narratives can at times seem clumsy and obvious, but they put the audience into a special situation; they tell the audience to interpret this story not as by Geoffrey Chaucer, but as by Robyn the Miller or Alyson the Wife of Bath.

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A way with words II : approaches to literature by Michael D.C. Drout, Recorded Books

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