Preparation of the Novel and the Novel of Commission

Notation After “The Reality Effect”:
Remaking Reference with Roland Barthes and Sheila Heti
by Rachel Sagner Buurma and Laura Heffernan

In “The Reality Effect,” Roland Barthes reveals notation’s ideological function within the realist novel; a decade later in Preparation of the Novel, Barthes reconsiders notation as the practice by which the writer provisionally makes literary meaning. Barthes’s revision of his claims for the reality effect helps us see how an emerging genre—the novel of commission—pulls referential, preparatory materials into the novel in order to reimagine the sociality and institutionality of the writing process.

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“Notation After ‘The Reality Effect’: Remaking Reference with Roland Barthes and Sheila Heti” is from Representations’ special issue Denotatively, Technically, LiterallyThe introduction to the issue by Elaine Freedgood and Cannon Schmitt is available online free of charge.

The Secret History of Diegesis

“The Secret History of Diegesis”: A Talk by Elaine Freedgood
MONDAY, MARCH 31, 5 PM – 7 PM (300 WHEELER HALL, UC BERKELEY)

picture of “The Secret History of Diegesis“: A Talk by Elaine Freedgood

ELAINE FREEDGOOD is Professor of English at New York University. Her books include Victorian Writing About Risk: Imagining a Safe England in a Dangerous World (2000) and The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel (2006). Both “The Secret History of Diegesis” and “Ghostly Reference,” just published in the Representations special issue Denotatively, Technically, Literally, are part of her current project,  Worlds Enough: Fictionality and Reference in the Novel.

Infinite Mischief

Must historical novels … be held to a higher truth standard because they are dealing, overtly, with history rather than story, even if that history is as horrific as that of the Holocaust?

Taking off from Thomas Hardy’s pronouncement that the “mixing of fact and fiction in unknown proportions” amounts to “infinite mischief,” Carol Gluck considers the tension between fact and fiction in her lively opinion piece for Representations 124, “Infinite Mischief? History and Literature Once Again.”

CAROL GLUCK is the George Sansom Professor of History at Columbia University, specializing in the history of modern Japan. She is co-editor with Anna Tsing of Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon (Duke, 2009) and author of Thinking with the Past: Japan and Modern History (University of California, forthcoming).