Download Flaubert's Characters: The Language of Illusion by Diana Knight PDF

By Diana Knight

This significant new research takes factor either with the conventional serious view that Flaubert's principal characters are susceptible and with the strategy followed by way of a few modern critics who declare that personality is intentionally undermined within the pursuits of non-representational writing. relatively, Dr Knight explores the connection among the contents of Flaubert's tales and his perform as a author, thereby reinstating the useful price of personality in his paintings. She exhibits that crucial facets of Flaubert's aesthetic - the opaqueness of language, stupidity, fascination and reverie because the item of artwork - rely on the mental makeup of fictional characters: their pathological dating to language and fact mirrors Flaubert's perception of the readers' stupefied reaction to his personal stylistic results and to his wilfully naive tales. Flaubert emerges as a representational author, yet person who is supremely self-conscious of the fictitious prestige of his representations.

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If language itself is sometimes blamed for difficulties of self-expression, 1 inarticulate characters are more usually seen to have a personal problem. It is not that the right words do not exist, but that they do not have access to them. They are not good at translating their experience of the world into speech, and are especially unable to use language to communicate with other people. Nor is this because their thoughts are too profound for expression - the same characters clearly lack intellectual capacity as well.

Repeta Salammbo; elle revait, le coude appuye sur la chaise d'ivoire. (p. 756) But it is above all the scene in the tent which is marked by a whole series of stupefied, uncomprehending, incantatory repetitions: II la regardait de bas en haut, en la tenant ainsi entre ses jambes, et ii repetait: (p. 758) - Comme tu es belle! comme tu es belle! - A moins, peut-etre, que tu ne sois Tanit? - Moi, Tanit? se disait SalammbO [ . . ] Une lassitude l'accablait; elle ecoutait avec stupeur le cri intermittent des sentinelles qui se repondaient [ .

B) II, p. 794 ( 1 858)) 17 This general remoteness and inaccessibility is increased by Flaubert's frequent recourse to a shifting narrative viewpoint which I would suggest is used, in this novel at least, to undermine empathy. For whereas in any 'epic' war novel - or film - an inner view of both warring parties is an almost cliched way of involving the viewer in both sides, in SalammbO, though this inevitably happens to a certain extent, the constant switches from the following of events with one side to the sudden sharing of an external viewpoint (and even more obviously, a long shot) upon them, tends to increase rather than to break down strangeness.

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