Poetic prose-fiction as art : axiomatic fictionality, eloquence, and formal coherence in Alessandro Baricco's ocean sea and silk
Tan, Hazel Yan Lin
Date of Issue2015
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper is a consideration of the nature of art, and the extent to which one may consider literature, or more specifically, poetic prose-fiction works to be art. Through a survey of the aesthetic theories of Susanne Langer, Etienne Gilson, Dennis Donoghue, Clive Bell and M. H. Abrams, it identifies two principles that enable poetic prose-fiction works to be art: (1) a dissociation from reader’s reality and (2) beauty. Upon doing so, it performs an approximation of these principles to Alessandro Baricco’s Ocean Sea and Silk. Three elements are found manifest in Baricco’s work that correspond to these principles of art: axiomatic fictionality, eloquence achieved through poetic uses of language, and formal coherence. All of these elements work together to situate readers in autotelic narrative worlds, wherein they are further guided to apprehend aesthetic emotions of wonder and beauty. In appreciating the beauty inherent in literary works of art, readers are reminded that there is a vital aspect of Being, that goes beyond their utility.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University