By Bernard Bergonzi (auth.)
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Extra info for The Situation of the Novel
Whatever Mr Anthony Burgess may say about 'some great unexpected masterpiece which will burn up the world'. no-one seems confident about discovering one. There will be surprises, certainly, but only within a given range of possibilities. Here we have a perfect instance of what Meyer calls a 'fluctuating stasis', taking place within an extensive but closed system of cultural references. At one point Meyer implicitly answers Ortega's notion about the 'exhaustion' of a given genre: the notion of 'exhausting' a style is largely a culture-bound concept, stemming from beliefs in the importance of originality and in the value of individual expression - beliefs important in Western ideology but by no means so in all cultures or in all epochs.
S. Johnson's The Unfortunates. But the practical 30 T HE S IT U AT I 0 N 0 F T H E N0 V E L inconveniences that attend such devices are hardly likely to endear them to readers, and still less to librarians. It might be said that I am overemphasising the role of the book in the existence of the novel, and that the printed medium is no more than a notation, which should not be confused with the work itself, any more than a score in music or a printed poem in poetry. There are large aesthetic questions hovering round this problem, which I am reluctant to raise, but the novel does seem to me different from music or poetry in certain essential respects.
In order not to be owned she has to become an owner, and what she becomes is the owner of others in the same sense that the author owns his characters in a well made little drama: 'they might have been figures rehearsing some play of which she herself was the author: they might even, for the happy appearance they continued to present, have been such figures as would, by the strong note of character in each, fill any author with the certitude of success, especially of their own histrionic'. The opposing self opposes self.
The Situation of the Novel by Bernard Bergonzi (auth.)