Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wood and Barthes and the Unreality of Realistic Fiction

James Wood in the current New Yorker (ppg. 71-72):

"The French literary theorist Roland Barthes['s]...larger argument...was that realistic fiction, like ideology, tries to palm itself off as the most natural and real of literary modes but is in fact the most artificial and unreal. Barthes is ninety-nine percent right.


But Barthes is one per cent wrong, too; and, like the one per cent that separates us genetically from chimpanzees, Barthes's tiny wrongness is quite large."

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