History Made, History Imagined: Contemporary Literature, Poiesis, and the Past

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9780252067761: History Made, History Imagined: Contemporary Literature, Poiesis, and the Past

In this provocative and original study, David Price investigates history as a form of poiesis - the act of making in language - and suggests that certain novels can provide the best means of engaging in historical interpretation. Contending that the fundamental act of narration itself, including the narration of history, expresses a system of values, Price explores the work of seven contemporary novelists who share a commitment to reexamining history as idea and a refusal to accept history as given. Within a theoretical framework based on Friedrich Nietzsche and Giambattista Vico, Price investigates how these writers - Carlos Fuentes, Susan Daitch, Salman Rushdie, Michel Tournier, Ishmael Reed, Graham Swift, and Mario Vargas Llosa - create a discursive space between history and literature, a space within which history can be questioned and the making of history explored.Through their novels, these writers replace the univocal expression of history as a description of 'what really happened' with a polyvocality of competing discourses, languages, and points of view. Price's investigation of three modalities of the poietic novel - the history of forgotten possibilities, the construction of counter memory and cultural critique, and history as myth - has far-reaching implications for how we read and question the narratives we understand as history. By treating the past as a dynamic flow of values, rather than a fixed collection of facts, "History Made, History Imagined" fosters a deeper understanding not only of literature and philosophy but also of history and our relationship to it.

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"A demonstration of how the novel, as a form of 'speculative thinking,' provides a place where history can be questioned and understood, Price's study is a must for graduate and advanced scholars interested in these writers and in the larger questions about the contemporary historical novel and the relationship between history and fiction." -- Choice "A theoretically sophisticated and highly cogent discussion of fictive meditations on history... Every chapter here is rewarding... History Made, History Imagined is solid, meticulous, wide-ranging, and wonderfully persuasive." -- David Cowart, American Literature ADVANCE PRAISE "Price offers remarkably learned, inventive, and original meditations on the complex relations of history-or 'truth'-and fiction. His wide-ranging discussion demonstrates a vivid grasp of historiography and an original sense of the philosophical aspects of his subject."-Jay Parini, author of Benjamin's Crossing "David Price's book makes me want to read all the novels that I haven't. I can't think of a higher tribute."-Kathryn Hume, author of Calvino's Fictions: Cogito and Cosmos

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Price, David W.
Published by University of Illinois Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0252067762 ISBN 13: 9780252067761
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Book Description University of Illinois Press, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110252067762

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