«THE PROSAIC IMAGINARY: NOVELS AND THE EVERYDAY, 1750-2000 ABSTRACTS Abstracts are listed alphabetically Azadibougar, Omid. The Novel after Cinema: ...»
THE PROSAIC IMAGINARY: NOVELS AND THE
Abstracts are listed alphabetically
The Novel after Cinema: Reality and Forms of Representation
Discussing the coexistence of the realistic novel and cinema in a lecture in 1941 in
Istanbul, Eric Auerbach says: “Let me say right now that the realist novel would
have a brighter future in time to come if it were not for the art of cinema, which
rivals it in the field of realism with its documents, homogenous and diverse, filling every moment in time.” Does cinematic realism really trouble the development of the novel or render it unnecessary? This is specifically an important question in non-European literary traditions where the novel emerged simultaneously with cinema, novel reading is by no means an “everyday activity”, and literary imagination resists prosaic reality.
In this paper, I discuss the coexistence of cinema and the novel in Iran to elaborate on each form’s representational regime. In this cultural context, cinema is a prosaic medium whose influence and successes seem to make the novel unnecessary. As such, is it still possible for the novel to develop into a significant literary and artistic medium, or is it too late for it to develop? What aspects of the novelistic are not responded to through visual culture, how necessary are they, and what do they mean?
I will argue that while cinematic representation offers facilities that are not available in the novelistic, it imposes important restrictions which provide the grounds for the development of the novel. To elaborate on this, I will discuss an Oscar winning Iranian film, A Separation (2011), and argue how, despite Auerbach’s claim, film is not sufficiently satisfactory when it comes to an adequate representation of complex realities.
Novel-worlds: Tracing the Ripples in Doris Lessing’s The Four-Gated City Doris Lessing was a famously prolific, ideologically protean and stylistically ambitious author. For her, the novel was both a material object and an equally, if less literally, material action; an act of comprehension, creation, and finally communication — more often than not a profoundly political one. Martha Quest, the protagonist of Lessing’s genre-bending Bildungsroman series The Children of Violence, constitutes herself and her world through the act of reading. Works of literature, philosophy, science and politics are the conduit through which Martha comes to comprehend the external world and to create an internal one, just as a young Lessing thrived on the boxes of books she regularly ordered from England to her family’s farm on the Southern Rhodesian veld. In the series’ final volume, The Four-Gated City, Martha’s internal world will itself be made material, externalised through a new kind of communication that takes this radically experimentalnovel into the realm of science fiction.
In the Coldridge family mansion in post-war London, and later in an imagined future, reality is both understood and reformed through texts: not only the conventional novels through which Mark Coldridge tells the story of the ‘four-gated city’ of Martha’s imaginings, but also the figurative texts constituted by the newspaper-covered walls of his study, and the diaries-of-madness kept by the mansion’s women. The everyday of the realist novel-world is collapsed gradually through Lessing’s rendering of the fantastical from the prosaic, as the rooms of the mansion become rooms of the mind.
My paper considers the way in which the generic and structural openness of Lessing’s novel bears out her dual understanding of the novel as a material object in a marketplace of readership, and as a necessary intervention in what for her is a tangibly collective consciousness.
Bad in Form: Photography and the Composite Novel in Modernism In ‘The Book of the Grotesque,’ the opening story in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (1919), an old writer in a propped-up bed is overcome by “a dream that [is] not a dream” in which a “long procession of figures” appears “before his eyes.” Attending to this dream as a parable for a photographically affected apprehension and compositing of the social world, that is, as a peculiarly expansive family photographic album, I propose a measure of aesthetic convergence between the modernist composite novel in the early twentieth century and one of the key vernacular uses of photographic technology from the midnineteenth century on. In turn, this position paper calls for the reading of odd or uncategorisable prose texts in modernism – along with their narrated persons – in terms of what Karen Jacobs has called the troubling of “the truth of the body as a sight” which resulted, paradoxically, from the proliferation of the photographic image. In particular, Anderson’s composite novel and the “drawn out of shape” bodies it parades are taken as the dysmorphic (etymologically the ‘bad in form’) figures for photography’s disclosure of the ‘thingness’ of human beings and the ‘humanness’ of things. This paper therefore argues that the modernist novel operates, much like the photograph, as ‘portable property’ that bears its cultural or sentimental load as burden or difficulty, registered in Winesburg, Ohio’s distorted and fragmentary writing bodies and writing acts.
Letty Fox: Australianism and the Synchronic Prose of Late Modernity Letty Fox was Christina Stead’s first novel composed after the end of the Second World War, and its action extends into 1946. Its synthesis of the premodern picaresque with the nineteenth-century Bildungsroman adding modern sexuality so shocking that, as Nicole Moore has discussed it was censored in Australia, the novel seems like an amalgam of prose styles. Its anthological prose posits a kind of synchronic late modernity, which can position all these styles in askance, and frenetic version of Eliot’s “ideal order”, all the while rendering a split portrait of a New York whose sophistication is admired—particularly if coupled with antiestablishment politics—yet is built around misogyny. In a late modernity premised on being socialist in economics, synchronic in temporality, and patriarchal in gender politics the double-consciousness required, in ‘ mind, for a woman writer is figured by “Australianist” allusions, Solander (Captain Cook’s botanist) as Letty’s father, the exclamation “Such is Life!” and the reference, in the 46th of 46 chapters, set in 1946, to Paraguay and its alleged surfeit of women, which the misogynistic Percival Hogg will seek out in a patriarchal replay of William Lane’s utopian project. For Stead, gender invisibility is the primary problem, Australian invisibility the secondary but she indicates that her marginalization as a writer proceeds from both major and minor vehicles.
Cruges in Sintra: Some Considerations on Affect and the Everyday in the Realist Novel, Following Jameson Fredric Jameson, in his recent Antinomies of Realism (2013), argues that affect—a category which is more readily associated with contemporary or postmodern theory—is central to an understanding of classic realist fiction of the nineteenth century. Jameson suggests that the realist novel unleashes affects, which could be described as states of intensity and immediacy associated with “the body’s present” and irreducible to the meanings associated with the “named emotions,” while recontaining the intensity of these affects within an older order of narrative meaning. For Jameson, realism exists in this tension between the determinate order of an older mode of storytelling and the radically free play of affects embraced in literary modernism. The notion of the everyday or the prosaic, so important to understandings of realism ranging from Auerbach to Barthes, is interestingly refocused with this attention to affect, where the aesthetic representation of the everyday is seen to involve an attention to the singularity of affects – the distraction of Tolstoy’s Prince Andrei, or the listlessness of Emma Bovary – which float beyond those “named emotions” that gave an apparent order to the lives of the fictional characters of an earlier literature.
In this paper, I will consider a paradigmatically “affective” episode from one realist classic Jameson does not discuss, Eça de Queiros’s The Maias, in which we find the everyday figured in its sheer stubbornness or intractability, by way of a pronounced attention to the complex play of affects. In the process I aim to probe Jameson’s theory and to relate it back to questions of the nation and of social class, which Eça’s great work on the declining Portuguese aristocracy so dramatically explores.
The horses had rested by then, so Cruges paid the bill and they left. Shortly afterwards, they were driving across the empty, apparently unending heath.
On either side, as far as the eye could see, the land was dark and sad, and high above them, in all that solitude, the endless blue sky seemed equally sad. The horses’ hooves kept up a steady trot, beating monotonously on the road. There was no other sound; occasionally a bird would cut through the air, flying fast, fleeing that bleak wasteland. Inside the break, one of the servants was sleeping; Cruges, heavy with eggs and sausage, was staring vaguely and glumly at the horses’ lustrous rumps.
— The Maias, trans. Margaret Jull Costa, p. 192
Chuang, Ying Xuan.
Novelising a genre—Japanese Animation: Gender-bending Writing a novel of a film is less common than making a film of a novel. Some people may claim that a film of a novel provides visual tags which can be the same as or differ from those in their imagination. Others say that a film is an easily palatable summary of the book and those who really want a better understanding should and would go back to the book. Why then are films of books made?
Conversely, why are the spin-off novels from successful films not usually made?
This paper will explore the conundrum of why novelisation (film to book) is ‘bad’ and adaptation (book to film) ‘good’. It will address the reason for a need of a regression of an essentially visual form to the written form and why the project focusses on novelising Anime as a genre.
The Creative Writing is about companies which enforce a cross-dressing rule on their employees, so that they can maintain an image of having ‘gender equality’ in the workplace, and the lives of some of the employees. Company saku.RA is an allmale company while Company yo.zora is an all-female company. It is written in what I coin ‘anime writing style’ which is a visual writing style where action and characters propel the scenes and attempts to preserve Japanese puns, gags, culture and other characteristics or stereotypes of anime. It can possibly be categorised across a range such as “script, play, novel, fantasy, fiction, satire, parody, or comedy”. You make the call.
Fredric Jameson, Affect and the Realist Novel Fredric Jameson’s recent Antinomies of Realism (2013) finds the theorist particularly focused on classical realism and its relationship to affect. For Jameson, affect alters the function of descriptive passages, the status of the protagonist, and notions of temporality within the realist novel as it develops throughout the nineteenthcentury. While the work could perhaps be characterized as another of the critic’s shrewd interventions within a highly visible area of academia, Jameson’s work has been interested in the field for some time: for example, an essay published in 1985, “The Realist Floor-Plan”, already sees the emergence of Flaubert’s realism in terms of affect, temporality and middle-class subjectivity. At the same time, while he acknowledges Gilles Deleuze in Antinomies of Realism, Jameson’s concept of affect is often constructed within his own parameters and there is little interaction with other influential notions of affect. The purpose of this paper will be to investigate ways in which Jameson discusses affect throughout his career, particularly Antinomies of Realism’s wide range of permutations, and how this work might reconcile with a wider field of affect theory in literary studies.