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Title: Beginning with an ending : authorial representation and the postmortem search from Flaubert’s parrot to Arthur & George
Authors: Goh, Qi Wei
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: Author fictions, or fictions about historical authors, have often been regarded as exclusively postmodern. While this might be true for works like Julian Barnes’s Flaubert’s Parrot (1984), the author’s later novel, Arthur & George (2005), does not partake in the same paradoxical and self-reflexive games which the early novel is famous for. However, despite the apparent move back into literary conventions, Arthur & George is similarly concerned with the overlaps between biography and fiction, author and character and the past and present. By exploring both novels’ stylistic engagements with these issues, the essay will argue that Arthur & George represents a progression from the postmodern cynicism which we see in Flaubert’s Parrot. Despite keeping closely to the recorded facts of Arthur Conan Doyle’s life, Arthur & George actually takes more liberties in its use of factual information than Flaubert’s Parrot does in its rendering of Gustave Flaubert. Ultimately, the optimism which underlies the authorial representation of Conan Doyle is an indication of the later novel’s move beyond the debate over the impossibility of achieving objective truth.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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