Get Afterlife and Narrative in Contemporary Fiction PDF

By Alice Bennett

ISBN-10: 1137022698

ISBN-13: 9781137022691

ISBN-10: 1349349356

ISBN-13: 9781349349357

Afterlife and Narrative explores why lifestyles after dying is this sort of powerful cultural idea this day, and why it really is such an enticing prospect for contemporary fiction. The booklet mines a wealthy vein of imagined afterlives, from the temporal experiments of Martin Amis's Time's Arrow to narration from heaven in Alice Sebold's the beautiful Bones .

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Extra resources for Afterlife and Narrative in Contemporary Fiction

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This seems to be reading from hope, as the text writes itself as a system we believe will make sense come the end. There seems to be some risk involved in a helpless dance with the tomb, but Blanchot’s reader is emptied out and surrendering to the action of the text, as though to the power of a providential God. There is some kind of death for the reader there, in surrendering the individual self for the sake of the completion of the text; a kind of communion of the faithful. The risk implied in the reader’s dance does suggest there may be some element of uncertainty in the outcome of our reading; even when we give everything of ourselves over to a text, there is still the possibility that it will not end coherently.

Instead, Dante offers the kind of accounting of a life that wants to list and record all its elements, like the deathbed confession of an entire culture. Dead Endings 35 Bakhtin’s analysis of Dante identifies two chronotopes in tension, each dominated by either the spatial or the temporal. His own image for the shape of the narrative of The Divine Comedyy is of a tree or a forked path, with ‘horizontal time-saturated branches at right angles to the extra-temporal vertical of the Dantesque world’ (158).

These descriptive terms allow her to use Bakhtin’s distinctions between Dante’s visionary, vertical time and the historical time of the damned to suggest that their lack of spatial ‘evaluative’ perspective might be precisely what is keeping them in hell. The problem here, however, is that the souls in heaven are just as eager to relate their histories (Cunizza in Canto IX of the Paradiso, for instance) and, while it is probably true that it is their earthly concerns which have prevented them ascending through heaven, they know that ‘here there’s no repentance’ (Paradiso IX: 103): the souls in heaven cannot advance any further even with an extra-temporal and evaluative perspective.

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Afterlife and Narrative in Contemporary Fiction by Alice Bennett

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