Jacques Ranciere Bibliography Mla

In The Waves, one of the characters dreams of “a wandering thread, lightly joining one thing to another.” This essay situates this dream within the problem of modern fiction. Fiction was defined by Aristotle as an arrangement of actions according to necessity or verisimilitude. As such, it was opposed to history, which only told events, as they happened, in their empirical succession. When Virginia Woolf contrasts the tyranny of the plot with the truth of the shower of atoms falling upon the minds at every moment of any ordinary day, she exactly overturns the opposition. Now the problem is: how to organize the shower of atoms in the form of fiction with a beginning, a middle, and an end? Flaubert and Conrad had sorted out the problem by making a compromise between the truth of the interpenetration of sensory microevents and the “lie” of the plot. Through examples borrowed from Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and The Waves, the essay analyzes the various ways in which Woolf tries to dismiss this compromise. It also focuses on the political implication of the problem: modern fiction opposes the democracy of life to the old hierarchy of action, but it does so at the cost of sacrificing the social and literary character who haunts modern fiction: the child of the plebeian who, like Emma Bovary or Septimus Warren Smith, proves able to live any form of experience.

© 2014 by Novel, Inc.

2014

Duke University Press

The introduction to Novel 47.2: Jacques Rancière and the Novel considers some of the implications of Jacques Rancière's writings on literature and politics for the novel. It addresses this question with reference to Rancière's analysis of the literary “regime” (in The Politics of Literature), his work on pedagogy and aesthetics, and the literature of novel theory in the twentieth century, including the work of Georg Lukács and Mikhail Bakhtin. Rancière's insistence upon the “democratic” quality of the novel form presents a quandary for many readers, due to his reluctance to speak in evaluative or normative terms about that quality. The claim put forward here, however, is that his most significant contribution to novel theory is to be found in this refusal of the “explicative system,” a refusal that betokens the importance of the logic of the novel to his own thinking. I offer a summary of Rancière's article “The Thread of the Novel” in this context and situate the other articles in this issue (by Elaine Freedgood, Emily Steinlight, Raji Vallury, Sarah Winter, and Davide Panagia) in relation to the same quandary.

© 2014 by Novel, Inc.

2014

Duke University Press

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