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The Art of Fiction: Illustrated from Classic and Modern Texts (1992)

por David Lodge

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Discusses the art of fiction under a wide range of topics, each illustrated by a short passage taken from classic and modern fiction.
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Brilliant, engrossing, accessible. Fabulous in every one of its 50 short chapters or essays. ( )
  threegirldad | Aug 18, 2019 |
A collection of magazine articles pimped up and bound together into a book. Interesting enough and informative but they don't make a coherent whole. ( )
  Steve38 | Jan 14, 2019 |
I found this book very helpful in considering the issues I've been struggling with while revising my drafts (nonfiction as well as fiction) and will surely return to it many times. Each chapter is a stand alone examination of a different aspect of fiction writing, so the book doesn't necessarily need to be read cover to cover. Since I haven't read many of the texts Lodge references, I found the excerpts difficult to understand at first, but Lodge explains them well through sophisticated literary and rhetorical analysis. ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
The cover of this collection of essays features a striking image by Van Gogh of a woman reading a novel. Her surroundings are strongly lit by a bright light, while she herself, her face especially, is in shadow (you can still see the anxiety in her face); the only blemish for me is the clumsily rendered fingers of her left hand.

In a way this perfectly captures the impact of this non-fiction study: a lot of light is thrown on how British and American writers achieve the effects that are found in their works, but we are mainly in the dark as to how ordinary readers themselves may react. (The critics however lapped it up, if the cover quotes are typical.) All that we can be sure of is what the essayist thinks of the extracts he discusses: it is up to each reader to make up their minds whether that works for them individually.

Some of these pieces were written for the Independent on Sunday as early as 1991, and my worry was that after much ink has flowed from pens and printers over the intervening quarter-century some of his observations might be a little dated. Not a bit of it. Fifty pieces cover the lifetime of the English novel, from Laurence Sterne to Fay Weldon, Jane Austen to Anthony Burgess, Thomas Carlyle to Milan Kundera; fifty article-length discussions revolve around topics as various as Suspense and Interior Monologue, Teenage Skaz and Magic Realism, the Unreliable Narrator and the Non-Fiction Novel, the Epistolary Novel and the Telephone.

Lodge’s approach is to quote a passage or two from one or more books, each of which is designed to illustrate the technique he’s introducing, before going on to analyse and comment on how each extract works. Along the way he slips in specific literary terms like synecdoche or metafiction, defamiliarization or aporia, all without losing the novice reader because he shows those terms working in context. Whether it’s how to structure a novel (Chapters or Narrative Structure), or genre (Suspense, Imagining the Future, Allegory, Surrealism), or style (Showing and Telling, Point of View, Irony), Lodge is always knowledgeable, discursive and entertaining.

I enjoyed this book about novels immensely, often reading two or three sections at a time without a sense of overload. Fittingly the first topic is Beginning and the last — for which I felt a pang of regret that all was nearly over — is Ending; Austen is the principal author bookending the collection. Penguin continued to publish this as recently as 2011 so clearly felt that The Art of Fiction was still relevant twenty years later.

You won’t feel embarrassed caught reading this, not perhaps like Van Gogh’s young female reader. As Vincent himself writes in a little note accompanying a sketch of his 1888 painting, “in her hand she holds a yellow book”. In the late 19th century illicit French novels sported yellow covers, a fact that led to a famous British magazine saucily calling itself The Yellow Book from 1894 to 1897, even though its contents dealt with high art and literature. Still, it did achieve a posthumous kind of notoriety from the fact that both Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley contributed to it.

http://wp.me/s2oNj1-fiction ( )
  ed.pendragon | Feb 16, 2016 |
More a quick survey than a discussion of all of the elements of fiction. Relies too heavily on his own work, which is a bit of puffery.
  2wonderY | Dec 31, 2013 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (2 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
David Lodgeautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Freixas, LauraTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Fuchs, MichelTraductionautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Fuchs, NadiaTraductionautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Grosser, HermannPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Larios Aznar, JordiTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lunati Maruny, MontserratTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Discusses the art of fiction under a wide range of topics, each illustrated by a short passage taken from classic and modern fiction.

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823.009Literature English English fiction By Type

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