Modern Epic The World System from Goethe to Garcia Marquez

ISBN-10: 1859840698

ISBN-13: 9781859840696

Edition: 1996

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Description: "Take Faust, what is it? A 'tragedy', as its author states? A great philosophical tale? A collection of lyrical insights? Who can say. How about Moby-Dick? Encyclopedia, novel or romance? Or even a 'singular medley,' as one anonymous 1851 review put it? ... 'It is no longer a novel,' T.S. Eliot said of Ulysses. But if not novels, then what are they?"Literary history has long been puzzled by how to classify and treat these aesthetic monuments. In this highly original and interdisciplinary work, Franco Moretti builds a theory of the modern epic: a sort of super-genre that has provided many of the "sacred texts" of Western literary culture. He provides a taxonomy capable of accommodating Faust, Moby-Dick, The Nibelung's Ring, Ulysses, The Cantos, The Waste Land, The Man Without Qualities and One Hundred Years of Solitude.For Moretti the significance of the modern epic reaches well beyond the aesthetic sphere: it is the form that represents the European domination of the planet, and establishes a solid consent around it. Political ambition and formal inventiveness are here continuously entwined, as the representation of the world system stimulates the technical breakthroughs of polyphony, reverie and leitmotif; of the stream of consciousness, collage and complexity.Opening with an analysis of Goethe's Faust and the different historical roles of epic and the novel, Moretti moves through a discussion of Wagner's Ring and on to a sociology of modernist technique. He ends with a fascinating interpretation of "magic realism" as a compromise formation between a number of modernist devices and the return of narrative interest, and suggests that the west's enthusiastic reception of these texts (and One Hundred Years of Solitude in particular) constitutes a ritual self-absolution for centuries of colonialism.

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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 1996
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 4/17/1996
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.60" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Quintin Hoare is the director of the Bosnian Institute and has translated numerous works by Sartre, Antonio Gramsci, and other French authors. He lives in the United Kingdom.

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Faust and the Nineteenth Century
'I want a hero...'
'In the beginning was the Deed'
Literary evolution. I
Rhetoric of innocence. I
'He sees visions of giant undertakings . . .'
An inherited form
Non-contemporaneity. I
'So many little independent worlds'
World texts. I
'An incredible musical pandemonium'
Polyphony in America. I
Polyphony in America. II
'With all the certainty of a mechanical process'
Literary evolution. II
Allegory and modernity. I
'You, I think, should know us all'
The sign run amok
Allegory and modernity. II
'But infinite forms do not exist . . .'
Transition: The Nibelung's Ring
'Drink first, hero, so that distant things don't escape you'
Monumental dilettantism
Twofold myth
Art of transition
Complexity. I
Ulysses and the Twentieth Century
The Ladies' Paradise
Stream of consciousness
Sociology of absentmindedness
The great Perhaps
Epiphany, madeleine, Leitmotiv
World texts. II
Free association
Excursus: Stream of consciousness - evolution of a technique
The other Ulysses
Literary evolution. III
Liberation of the device
Joyce/Kafka
Soul and precision
Complexity. II
Countermodernism
Compromise
Epilogue: One Hundred Years of Solitude
Magical realism
From Lubeck to Macondo
Non-contemporaneity. II
Rhetoric of innocence. II
Index
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