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Adam Thirwell on Les Misérables in the Guardian:

When the book was finished, Hugo tried – and failed – to write a preface. The preface would have begun like this: “This book has been composed from the inside out. The idea engenders the characters, the characters produce the drama, and this is, in effect, the law of art. By having the ideal, that is God, as the generator instead of the idea, we can see that it fulfils the same function as nature. Destiny and in particular life, time and in particular this century, man and in particular the people, God and in particular the world, this is what I have tried to include in this book; it is a sort of essay on the infinite.”

Those in particulars are interesting, aren’t they.

(via signandsight)

Written by adswithoutproducts

July 15, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Posted in novel

2 Responses

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  1. Don’t know if you’ve read Jameson’s piece in the recent 2 volume Moretti-edited monster-product entitled _The Novel_, but he’s interested in just this kind of thing, the secularization of providence in the realist novel, its religious residues and the possibility that the idea of providence might be turned into a model of collective agency (i.e. a further turn of Hugo’s “in particular”s…Destiny and in particular the people).

    pollian

    July 15, 2008 at 5:59 pm

  2. I have not read it! I had a copy out at the old place, then we hired someone who recalled my copies and, in doing so, made me regret stumping for him. But will def. read as soon as I can.

    CR

    July 15, 2008 at 11:18 pm


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