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The body in the library: adventures in realism

Segal, Naomi (2012) The body in the library: adventures in realism. Romance Studies 30 (3-4), pp. 200-209. ISSN 0263-9904.

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This essay looks at two aspects of the virtual ‘material world’ of realist fiction: objects encountered by the protagonist and the latter’s body. Taking from Sartre two angles on the realist pact by which readers agree to lend their bodies, feelings, and experiences to the otherwise ‘languishing signs’ of the text, it goes on to examine two sets of first-person fictions published between 1902 and 1956 — first, four modernist texts in which banal objects defy and then gratify the protagonist, who ends up ready and almost able to write; and, second, three novels in which the body of the protagonist is indeterminate in its sex, gender, or sexuality. In each of these cases, how do we as readers make texts work for us as ‘an adventure of the body’?

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): realism, objects, the body, Proust, Rilke, Hofmannsthal, Sartre, Gide
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > Cultures and Languages
Depositing User: Naomi Segal
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2012 13:43
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2014 10:54

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