Transformation as the Principle of Literary Creation From the Homeric Epic to the Joycean Novel

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This study opens with an extensive introductory essay focused on the concept that there is no story without some kind of transformation. It ranges over centuries and across literatures in order to document clearly and concisely how this omnipresent feature of narrative actually works. Various aspects of transformation are investigated and elaborated, including problems of ontology and teleology, progression and regression, discovery and recovery, physical and psychological change, literal and figural formulations, truth and lie, physics and metaphysics. Eight principal chapters are devoted to classic works: the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, Decameron, Canterbury Tales, Tom Jones, Jacques the Fatalist, Anna Karenina, and Ulysses. A centrally situated essay treating Don Quixote links the first four chapters with the second four. Profound shifts, changes, and reversals of plot find their place here in a wide-ranging discussion aimed also to evoke a focused sense and reminiscence of selected masterworks of world literature.


“The few pages in which Danow discusses the manifestation of absence in Don Quixote are among the most insightful in this book that is full of insight. They are an eloquent prelude to his examination of the more modern works by Fielding and Diderot….Danow proves to be an ingenious reader of narrative. And anyone who reads this volume will become a better reader not only of narrative but also of life.” – David Patterson, The University of Memphis

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface; Introduction
1. Homer, Iliad and Odyssey
2. Virgil, Aeneid
3. Boccaccio, Decameron
4. Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
In medias res: Cervantes, Don Quixote
5. Fielding, Tom Jones
6. Diderot, Jacques the Fatalist
7. Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
8. Joyce, Ulysses
Bibliography; Index

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