Six Walks in the Fictional Woods

Six Walks in the Fictional Woods

ISBN: 0674810511

ISBN 13: 9780674810518

Publication Date: July 21, 1998

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Pages: 160

Format: Paperback

Author: Umberto Eco

4.12 of 1,398

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"Come stroll with me through the leafy glades of narrative..." With Umberto Eco as companion and guide, who could resist such an invitation? In this exhilarating book, we accompany him as he explores the intricacies of fictional form and method. Eco draws us in by means of a novelist's techniques, making us his collaborators in the creation of his text and in the investigation of some of fiction's most basic mechanisms. How does a text signal the type of reader it wants, and how does it "stage" for us, through its style and voice, a certain version of the author? What is the relation between this "model reader" and "model author"? How does narrative lead us on, persuade us to lose ourselves in its depths? The range of Eco's examples is astonishing - from fairy tales, through Flaubert, Poe, and Manzoni, to Ian Fleming, Mickey Spillane, and Casablanca. In a detailed analysis of one of his favorite texts, Gerard de Nerval's Sylvie, Eco examines the uses of temporal ambiguity, demystifying the "mists" in the literary forest. In another chapter, he takes detective fiction and pornography as a basis for discussing narrative pace - strategic speeding up and slowing down - and the relationship between real time and narrative time. And in yet another chapter, we follow Eco as he shadows the musketeer D'Artagnan through the streets of seventeenth-century Paris, a trail that leads us to the uncertain boundary between story and history. Fiction is parasitically dependent on reality; but reality, too, feeds on fiction. Here, the book reveals its serious side. What are the implications for society when the line between reality and fiction becomes blurred? How are stories ("plots" in the mostinsidious sense of the word) constructed over the course of time? In order to be responsible citizens of the world, Eco shows, we must be skilled and incisive readers. Getting lost in the blurry region where the real and the fictional merge can be a disturbing experience. But Eco's unerr

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