By M. Lyons
Within the nineteenth century, the interpreting public extended to embody new different types of customers, in particular of inexpensive fiction. those new reduce type and feminine readers apprehensive liberals, Catholics and republicans alike. Martyn Lyons makes a speciality of staff, girls, and peasants, and the ways that their analyzing was once built as a social and political challenge, to research the phobia of studying in nineteenth Century France. He provides case-studies of exact readers, to check their offerings and their practices, and to guage how some distance they replied to (or subverted) makes an attempt at cultural domination.
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This latter possibility is particularly suggestive in partially accounting for the new need, first to create fictions, then to admit their fictiveness, and then to examine critically such impulses. This is as true of the short story today as it is of the novel. It is narrative in general that is narcissistic. It is tempting to speculate on the possible relationship- that explicitly suggests itself in metafiction by John Barth and John Fowles, among others -between the subjectivity of perspective in modern existentialism and the concern of self-conscious fiction to assert some mimetic life-art connection in the face of its obviously introspective orientation.
Other overtly diegetic narcissistic texts, such as Coover's "The Magic Poker," are also explicitly aware of their status as literary artifacts, of their narrative and world-creating processes, and of the necessary presence of the reader: "perhaps tomorrow I will invent Chicago and Jesus Christ and the history of the moon. ”17 However, the second mode within this form, the linguistic, operates self-consciously at a somewhat more basic stage. In diegetic narcissism, the text displays itself as narrative, as the gradual building of a fictive universe complete with character and action.
There are at least three potential problems with Ricardou's structure here. In the first place, it is hard to see how his initial category qualifies as any kind of auto-representation except in his example of alliteration, a not particularly important technique in narrative. He does separate it from the others by its pejorative label of "expressive" (as opposed to the modern "productrice"), but one must still question its usefulness as a category of auto-representation. The second limitation of this system lies in Ricardou's lack of distinction between texts which are self-conscious about their diegetic or narrative processes and those which are linguistically self-reflective.
Readers and Society in Nineteenth-Century France: Workers, Women, Peasants by M. Lyons