Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More

An essay in The Walrus reviews Don Quixote's place in literary history.

Is there anything the novel form designed by Cervantes can't do? The diligent reader of Don Quixote may end up answering with a flat no. And yet the author is determined to emphasize one restriction, although he probably thinks of it more as an ironic truth. The novel can't do reality. It can't ever not be a book. Whether we choose to admit it or not, the moment we open a work of fiction we have exited life and entered art. We're down a road and off on a quest, and neither the destination, nor necessarily the purposes, are at first obvious.

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The Czech novelist Milan Kundera believes the legacy of Don Quixote has been denigrated by an adherence to the "imperative of verisimilitude" in the novel. He lays partial blame on our fixation with realistic settings and chronological order. Glover qualifies Kundera by suggesting that literary realism is a technique that becomes problematic only "when someone tries to turn it into a definition." Glover admits, however, that this is precisely what "unthinking writers and journalist-critics" have done. Psychological realism, with its emphasis on credible plots and believable characters, is a major tradition in western literature. But it isn't the only one.

5 Comments:

Blogger Diana said...

I'm so heartened to see you still plugging away, Isabella.

As for me, my plans to forge onto the next classic failed with Pilgrim's Progress, and even though I got as far as buying the next one, Robinson Crusoe, I have yet to crack the cover. I was hot out of the starting gate with DQ, but then what happened? Sigh...

2:15 PM  
Blogger Candi and Shaun said...

Just stopping in to say hi to Zee and to thank her for visiting me..
-hugs to all-

6:24 PM  
Blogger Anonymous Poet said...

Just a quick question. What, exactly, is the necessary qualification for being considered a "well-educated" mind? Is there an admissions procedure? Or an entrance exam? Just curious. ; )

9:50 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Lol, Anonymous Poet...

I chose the blog name as an homage to Susan Wise Bauer's book of the same name because she has a reading list in that book that I was following.

As you can see, however, the project has been lagging of late. ;)

10:52 PM  
Blogger jay_stanley said...

I am reading Don Quixote right now.
It's my new favourite book.Check out my blog at:

divinegnosis.blogspot.com

I write about God and stuff.

10:53 AM  

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