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Mario Vargas Llosa: Critical Essays on Characterization von Kerr, R. A. (eBook)

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Mario Vargas Llosa: Critical Essays on Characterization

A collection of ten essays that examine the techniques of characterization and the interrelationship of character with other narrative components in Mario Vargas Llosa's fiction from Los jefes to El hablador. Essays deal either with individual novels or suggest recurring patterns or modes of characterization in several works. The critical focus of the collection is eclectic, incorporating elements from reader-response theories, archetypal criticism, pointof- view theories, structuralism, semiotics, stylistics, rhetoric, onomastics, and psychology. With an introduction.


    Format: PDF
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 185
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9780916379780
    Verlag: Digitalia
    Größe: 5793kBytes
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Mario Vargas Llosa: Critical Essays on Characterization

Introduction Character at the Crossroads (p. 1)

Character is the driving force of fiction. -Leon Surmelian, Techniques of Fiction Writing

L`analyse structural a eu la plus grand repugnance a trailer le personnage comme une essence..."--Roland Barthes, "Introduction a I`analyse structurale des recits"

In Book Six of the Poetics. Aristotle states that "it is the action which is the object of imitation, the individual characters are subsidiary to it." Until recently, this prescriptive analysis of the role of character in Drama and Epic has not been applicable to prose fiction. Homo fictus. in fact, has enjoyed high status as an essential component of modern narrative.

Ian Watt`s study of the early practitioners of the genre prompted him to observe that attention to characterization is an element that definitively separates the novel from its sister genres, and from its fictional predecessors: "the novel is surely distinguished from other genres and from previous forms of fiction by the amount of attention it habitually accords...to the individualization of its characters..."

Throughout the nineteenth century, the great Age of the Novel, character portrayal remained a dominant element of fictional narrative. In the era of protagonists such as Emma Bovary, Raskolnikov, and Anna Karenina, detailed, lifelike characterization was obligatory.

The development of stream-ofconsciousness techniques late in the century, and the subsequent influence of Freud, added the unprobed depths of the individual psyche to the novelist`s store of resources for depicting protagonists. Internal exploration of character has been fruitfully and exhaustively explored by Proust, Joyce, Faulkner, and others.

Critical pronouncements of the early twentieth century attest to the power and significance of the role of character in fiction. Henry James ignored Aristotle and equated character with action: "Character in any sense that we can get at it, is action, and action is plot."

For James1 follower, Percy Lubbock, the capable novelist is one who draws characters of flesh and blood: "Of Richardson and Tolstoy and Flaubert we can say at once that their command of life, their grasp of character, their knowledge of human affections and manner, had a certain range and strength and depth."

In the concluding pages of Mimesis. Erich Auerbach praises Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky primarily for their ability to depict character: "The most essential characteristic of the inner movement documented in Russian realism is the unqualified, unlimited and passionate intensity of experience in the characters portrayed."

By mid-twentieth century, successful narrative technique had become nearly synonymous with successful character portrayal. Leon Surmelian`s Techniques of Fiction Writing, for example, declares that "Character is the cornerstone of the novel, and we read novels primarily for their revelations of character." Gilbert Chase prefaces The American Novel and Its Tradition with the accepted observation that in fiction, "Character is more important than action and plot...."

Despite these assertions, a growing reaction to the preeminence of character developed. While Joyce and Proust labored to plumb the depths of the human psyche, and thus merge homo fictus with homo sapiens. Einstein was positing the total relativity of our perception of "reality."

In the new physics, "absolute description of any object or area is impossible from a single point of reference.

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