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Author Jehlen, Myra
Title Five Fictions in Search of Truth
Imprint Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2008
book jacket
Descript 1 online resource (183 pages)
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Note Contents -- PROLOGUE: A Real Madeleine Is a Work of Art -- CHAPTER ONE: Salammbô: Three Rough Stones beneath a Rainy Sky -- CHAPTER TWO: The Sacred Fount: The Case of the Man Who Suddenly Grew Smart -- CHAPTER THREE: The Ambassadors: What He Saw Was Exactly the Right Thing -- CHAPTER FOUR: Lolita: A Beautiful, Banal, Eden-Red Apple -- CHAPTER FIVE: A Simple Heart: Félicité and the Holy Parrot -- Acknowledgments -- Notes -- Index -- A -- B -- C -- D -- E -- F -- G -- H -- I -- J -- K -- L -- M -- N -- O -- P -- R -- S -- T -- W
Fiction, far from being the opposite of truth, is wholly bent on finding it out, and writing novels is a way to know the real world as objectively as possible. In Five Fictions in Search of Truth, Myra Jehlen develops this idea through readings of works by Flaubert, James, and Nabokov. She invokes Proust's famous search for lost memory as the exemplary literary process, which strives, whatever its materials, for a true knowledge. In Salammbô, Flaubert digs up Carthage; in The Ambassadors, James plumbs the examined life and touches at its limits; while in Lolita, Nabokov traces a search for truth that becomes a trespass. In these readings, form and style emerge as fiction's means for taking hold of reality, which is to say that they are as epistemological as they are aesthetic, each one emerging by way of the other. The aesthetic aspects of a literary work are just so many instruments for exploring a subject, and the beauty and pleasure of a work confirm the validity of its account of the world. For Flaubert, famously, a beautiful sentence was proven true by its beauty. James and Nabokov wrote on the same assumption--that form and style were at once the origin and the confirmation of a work's truth. In Five Fictions in Search of Truth, Jehlen shows, moreover, that fiction's findings are not only about the world but immanent within it. Literature works concretely, through this form, that style, this image, that word, seeking a truth that is equally concrete. Writers write--and readers read--to discover an incarnate, secular knowledge, and in doing so they enact a basic concurrence between literature and science. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions
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Electronic reproduction. Ann Arbor, Michigan : ProQuest Ebook Central, 2020. Available via World Wide Web. Access may be limited to ProQuest Ebook Central affiliated libraries
Link Print version: Jehlen, Myra Five Fictions in Search of Truth Princeton : Princeton University Press,c2008 9780691136127
Subject Fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism.;Fiction -- 19th century -- History and criticism
Electronic books
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