By Jane Smiley
Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling novelist Jane Smiley celebrates the novel–and takes us on an exciting journey via 100 of them–in this seductive and immensely lucrative literary tribute.
In her inimitable style–exuberant, candid, opinionated–Smiley explores the facility of the unconventional, its heritage and diversity, its cultural impression, and simply the way it works its magic. She invitations us backstage of novel-writing, sharing her personal behavior and spilling the secrets and techniques of her craft. and she or he bargains worthy recommendation to aspiring authors. As she works her approach via 100 novels–from classics equivalent to the thousand-year-old Tale of Genji to contemporary fiction via Zadie Smith and Alice Munro–she infects us anew with the eagerness for interpreting that's the governing spirit of this present to booklet enthusiasts all over the place.
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Extra resources for 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
This formulation of the “not for us” does not mean that happiness is saved only for others. Rather, it finds us only when it was not meant for us. This is to say, Agamben writes, that “happiness can be ours only through magic. ”61 For Agamben, the notion that there is no greater happiness than feeling capable of magic is most intelligible within certain esoteric linguistic and literary trajectories. Kafka’s enigmatic definition of magic is a paradigm for these trajectories. ”62 As Agamben notes, this definition coincides with the ancient tradition of kabbalists and necromancers that posits magic as a science of secret names.
63 In the concluding passage to “Magic and Happiness,” Agamben offers his most beautiful (re)formulation of the question Blanchot left to those who would find the disappearance of literature extended in their own words, which stand beside the unfolding of the world that Blanchot and Agamben on Désoeuvrement 37 remains unexpressed, gestured to, within them. ,” Blanchot asks of these writers, and Agamben responds with the entire text of The Open, but most succinctly with this passage: But according to another, more luminous tradition, the secret name is not so much the cipher of the thing’s subservience to the magus’s speech as, rather, the monogram that sanctions its liberation from language.
A final letter from Kojève to Bataille, which Agamben examines, betrays the literary stakes of their dispute over the ontology of posthistory and points us toward the final aspect of Agamben’s reading of Blanchot that we have found in The Open. Like the final passage of The Unavowable Community, this letter also opens onto an important inflection of Blanchot’s formulation of literature’s disappearance, its future, that of a mystical literature that is wrested from the sacred, of writing that somehow inscribes what disappears from being in an asignifying language, the speaking of what must always remain silent, the pataphorical register of language.
13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley