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The power of the story : fiction and political change

Author: Michael Hanne
Publisher: Providence, R.I. : Berghahn Books, 1994.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Can a Novel Cause Riots, start a war, free serfs or slaves, break up marriages, drive readers to suicide, close factories, bring about legal change, swing an election, or serve as a weapon in a national or international struggle?
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Hanne, Michael.
Power of the story.
Providence, R.I. : Berghahn Books, 1994
(OCoLC)622830825
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Michael Hanne
ISBN: 1571810196 9781571810199 0826407846 9780826407849
OCLC Number: 31242971
Description: x, 262 p. ; 23 cm.
Contents: Narrative and power --
Ivan Turgenev : A sportsman's notebook (1852) --
Harriet Beecher Stowe : Uncle Tom's cabin (1852) --
Ignazio Silone : Fontamara (1933) --
Alexander Solzhenitsyn : One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich (1962) --
Salman Rushdie : The satanic verses (1988).
Responsibility: Michael Hanne.

Abstract:

Can a Novel Cause Riots, start a war, free serfs or slaves, break up marriages, drive readers to suicide, close factories, bring about legal change, swing an election, or serve as a weapon in a national or international struggle?

These are some of the larger, direct, social and political effects which have been ascribed to certain exceptional novels and other works of narrative fiction over the last two hundred years or so. In their crudest form, claims of this kind are obviously naive, oversimplifying the complex ways in which literary texts "work in the world" and oversimplifying, too, the causal processes required to account for a major social or political change. But is it possible to modify or refine such claims in the light of contemporary theory and historical research so that the mechanisms by which each text has engaged with the political forces of the time are adequately described? The author explores this question in the form of a theoretical essay on narrative and power, followed by five detailed case studies of works by Turgenev, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ignazio Silone, Solzhenitsyn and Salman Rushdie each of which had or were said to have had a major impact on the political events in their time.

Forcefully argued and written with a minimum of jargon, this book will appeal to a wide readership well beyond that of the specialist in literature.

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