Home » Extravagant Narratives: Closure and Dynamics in the Epistolary Form by Elizabeth J. McArthur
Extravagant Narratives: Closure and Dynamics in the Epistolary Form Elizabeth J. McArthur

Extravagant Narratives: Closure and Dynamics in the Epistolary Form

Elizabeth J. McArthur

Published April 25th 1990
ISBN : 9780691067933
Hardcover
312 pages
Enter the sum

 About the Book 

Challenging the view of epistolary narrative as a faulty precursor to the nineteenth-century realist novel, Elizabeth MacArthur argues that the openness and flexibility that characterize correspondences, both real and fictional, reflect theMoreChallenging the view of epistolary narrative as a faulty precursor to the nineteenth-century realist novel, Elizabeth MacArthur argues that the openness and flexibility that characterize correspondences, both real and fictional, reflect the preoccupations of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Her readings of the Lettres portugaises, Mme du Deffands correspondence with Horace Walpole, and Rousseaus La Nouvelle Hlose propose an alternative to closure-oriented theories of narrative as they uncover an interplay between two forces: a tendency towards closure and meaning (metaphor) and a tendency towards openness and desire (metonymy). While such an interplay structures all narrative, the epistolary form differs from the third or first person in the extent to which metonymy predominates. The author shows how critics and editors of correspondences have attempted to control their metonymy, channeling epistolary energy into univocal meaning. By juxtaposing real and fictional epistolary works, MacArthur reveals the similarities between the two, particularly their extravagance: ambiguity, openness, and forward-moving energy.