Formal authority in the fiction of Banville, Calvino and Nabokov.
Date of Issue2010
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This essay examines each of the novels for their individual ideas of worldmaking, using aspects of Goodman’s study to initiate discussion of form and how it exemplifies ways of perceiving and constructing worlds. In Invisible Cities, form and content unify in the image of the city, as Marco Polo raises questions of construction within his tales of the city, and as the idea of shaping is shown through the spatial form that connects the cities across the novel. Instead of the interlinking it facilitates in Invisible Cities, form in The Real Life of Sebastian Knight breaks down distinctions between fiction and non-fiction. The “intricate and often witty structural patterns” of Real Life sets up levels which then blend into one another, and shows that life is also a narrative made of multiple levels of knowing (Toker, 234). Like Real Life, The Infinities correlates to Goodman’s assertion that “[w]orldmaking as we know it always starts from worlds already on hand; the making is a remaking” (I.4). The point Goodman makes about ‘relative reality,’ that different worlds co-exist relative to a particular point of vantage, initiates examination into The Infinities’s “mad proliferation of worlds” (I.2). These worlds—explained by Old Adam’s theory of the infinities and shown through the realms of the gods and mortals, dream and consciousness—interact through the form of the novel.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University