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The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures)by Orhan Pamuk
Synopses & Reviews
What happens within us when we read a novel? And how does a novel create its unique effects, so distinct from those of a painting, a film, or a poem? In this inspired, thoughtful, deeply personal book, Orhan Pamuk takes us into the worlds of the writer and the reader, revealing their intimate connections.
Pamuk draws on Friedrich Schiller's famous distinction between naive poets — who write spontaneously, serenely, unselfconsciously — and sentimental poets: those who are reflective, emotional, questioning, and alive to the artifice of the written word. Harking back to the beloved novels of his youth and ranging through the work of such writers as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Stendhal, Flaubert, Proust, Mann, and Naipaul, he explores the oscillation between the naive and the reflective, and the search for an equilibrium, that lie at the center of the novelist's craft. He ponders the novel's visual and sensual power--its ability to conjure landscapes so vivid they can make the here-and-now fade away. In the course of this exploration, he considers the elements of character, plot, time, and setting that compose the sweet illusion of the fictional world.
Anyone who has known the pleasure of becoming immersed in a novel will enjoy, and learn from, this perceptive book by one of the modern masters of the art.
"Taking his title and inspiration from Schiller's 'On Naive and Sentimental Poetry,' Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist Pamuk (The Museum of Innocence) dissects what happens when we read a novel. Making a distinction between naive novelists, 'unaware' of the novel's artificiality, and 'sentimental' novelists (and readers) at the opposite end, who are 'reflective,' Pamuk is most interested in the 'secret center' of literary novels, which is the wisdom they impart. Pamuk brings to the table firsthand knowledge regarding the centrality of character in the novel and how the novelist actually becomes the hero in the very act of writing. Readers, in their own symbiotic act of imagination, also inhabit the hero's character. And through that sense of identification with the hero's decisions and choices, Pamuk says, we learn that we can influence events. Reading novels in his youth, he writes, 'I felt a breathtaking sense of freedom and self-confidence.' Based on Pamuk's Norton Lectures, the book has some inevitable repetition, but is a passionate amalgam of wonder and analysis. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
A Huffington Post Best Book of the Year, 2010
About the Author
Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish novelist, is author of Snow, My Name Is Red, Istanbul, The Museum of Innocence, and other works. He was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. More information on the author can be found at www.orhanpamuk.net.
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