Sunday, 13 January 2013

Gems (2)

I've been dipping into 'How Fiction Works' by James Wood.  I got it in May 2011 and skim it now and then. Written in very short sections, there are some gems, though sometimes it's a little hardgoing,  a lot of detail about texts I haven't read. And quite a bit on Flaubert and  style indirect libre,  which I vaguely recall from French lectures.

Speaking about the writer Henry Green's attitude to dialogue, Wood says: 'Green argued that dialogue is the best way to communicate with one's readers, and that nothing killed 'life' so much as explanation'. He thought that dialogue should 'carry multiple meanings' and be interpreted however the reader wished, and that the writer should impose no fixed meaning since we can never really know what others are thinking. Wood  continues: 'The reader tends to plump for one reading, while being aware that multiple readings are also possible; we sew ourselves into the text, becoming highly invested in our version of events'.

We sew ourselves into the text is just gorgeous.

I had not heard of Henry Green and will seek him out.

And on metaphor Wood has this to say: 'Every metaphor or simile is a little explosion of fiction within the larger fiction of the novel or story.'


Mim said...

Ola, Nasim:

Sometimes I like to un-stitch myself from the text. "Rip out stitches" is too harsh. Baste oneself into the text--that's nice--loose stitches.

Green is something else!

Yours for metaphor,

nmj said...

That's a lovely image too, unstitching yourself from the text. I have never read Green, have you?