By Lars Ole Sauerberg
The modern novel leads a precarious existence among traditional realism, nonfiction "fiction", metafiction and fabulation. The conventions of fiction, notwithstanding, let a definite range for the merging of those narrative kinds. This research appears on the means that chosen works via 8 modern novelists mix kind of sincerely signalled documentary fabric with the imagined universes of fictional texts. The novels are Anthony Burgess's "Earthly Powers" and "The finish of the area News", E.L.Doctorow's "Ragtime", C.Harrison's "Freud. A Novel", Thomas Kenneally's "Schindler's Ark", J.A.Michener's "Texas". I.Stone's "The Passions of the Mind", William Styron's "Sophie's selection" and D.M.Thomas's "The White Hotel".
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Additional info for Fact into Fiction: Documentary Realism in the Contemporary Novel
Burgess, 1980, p. 45) ON TEXTUAL CATEGORIZATION A question which seldom, if ever, receives critical comment, is our capacity to categorize texts, and I am thinking here of all kinds of text, not only of those conventionally categorized as literary. At first glance raising the question may seen superfluous: We readily recognize a reference book, or a novel, or a newspaper, and consequently do not think twice about how to read them. There seems to be enough of a general consensus on the larger textual categories for it to be feasible to discuss borderline cases without having to go back to the basics of textual categorization each time.
The problematic nature of the distinction is illustrated in David Lodge's characterization of fiction as: an open category in the sense that you can, in theory, put any kind of discourse into it - but only on condition that such discourse has something in common with the discourse that you cannot take out of it: The something being a structure which either indicates the fictionality of a text or enables it to be read as if it were fictional. (Lodge, 1977, p. 9) Lodge invokes George Orwell's essay 'A Hanging' to exemplify his contention that in our appreciation of a text we do not need to know about its degree of historical exactitude.
Clara Reeve was fighting a battle already lost in her late-eighteenth-century apology for pure romance. The new reading public did not object, however, to the unifying and therefore meaning-bestowing reliance on narrative structures shared with earlier literary forms. The picaresque pattern so characteristic of much early English fiction (Fielding, Srnollett, and also Defoe when he sends his Crusoe on further adventures) gradually gave way to the climactic plots known from popular narrative and romance, culminating in the complex but nonetheless firmly articulated teleological intrigues of the mid-nineteenth-century well-made novel.
Fact into Fiction: Documentary Realism in the Contemporary Novel by Lars Ole Sauerberg