Title: An Iridescent Surplus of Style: Features of The Fantastic in Banville’s The Infinities
Authors: Schwall, Hedwig # ×
Issue Date: 2010
Series Title: Nordic Irish Studies vol:9 pages:89-107
Abstract: In this article, I argue that John Banville’s treatment of reality in his most recent novel, The Infinities, is inspired by the techniques of fantastic literature. As this genre investigates ‘primordial desires’, drawing heavily upon utopian literature and the uncanny, condensing the fictional and the metafictional, ‘projecting a complex relativity as against the simple absolutes of naturalism’ it is the perfect glove for Banville’s neo-Symbolist hand. In this novel we find ourselves at the haunted house of Arden, where all figures are doubled, with the Amphitryon motif as the central prism to break the concept of individuality. The protagonist goes through the classic ‘action’ of the fantastic novel, a quest for the self involving danger of death but also the possibility of resurrection. All modes of fantastic time are realized, going from the ‘chronotrope’ to magical and mythical time experience, as well as anachrony, characteristic both of the fantastic mode and the comatose protagonist. The doubling of narrators into a human and a divine one strengthens the ‘marvellous’ character of the novel; yet Hermes himself, the spirit of narration, is incapable of bridging the gap between word and world.
ISSN: 1602-124X
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Arts, Campus Kulak Kortrijk
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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