Discussion on the Ways in which Writing Engages with History

Discuss The Ways In Which Writing Engages With History

Aleksander Hemon, Bosnian American fiction author, recorded in his conversation with Colum McCannOn Writers and Historythat “literature contains the history of human life from the times immemorial, one merely has to read it” [ 1 ] . This statement recognises how linguistic communication and authorship are the chief agencies of human interaction through the history of our universe. History is frequently portrayed through literature so that people can entree the past. Writing engages with history through civilization and society, every bit good as though single, personal experience. However, the truth with which is it presented can be flawed.

Through personal sentiment utilizing a modernist, stream-of-consciousness manner, Virginia Woolf encourages the readers of her essayA Room of One’s Ownto oppugn the grounds why adult females authors are non every bit common as male authors in the history of literature. Woolf demonstrates the psychological and historical restraints by presenting the reader to a fictional sister ofShakespeare’s, who had all of her brother’s endowment, but none of his chances. Woolf provides an account of the deficiency of adult females authors through history by proposing that adult females did non compose because they did non hold any function theoretical accounts to follow. However, Woolf so continues her essay in treatment of Aphra Behn, the first adult female to do money from composing. Aleksander Hemon suggests in his essay that it is of import in literature, to “override the recognized history” [ 2 ] . At the clip, the “accepted history” was that work forces were superior to adult females, particularly when it came to composing. However, Woolf suggests through her essay, that Aphra Behn is an ideal function theoretical account to follow in order to “override the recognized history” created by work forces. By discoursing this in her essay, Woolf is telling an event in literary history. However, we can non be certain of the truth of the histories as the bulk of her essay is written by imaginativeness.

Hemon writes in his essay that “an experience [ in history ] connects” [ 3 ] the Irish and English people, and that linguistic communication is instrumental in the recording of this experience. The same could be said for the association between a individual and authorship ; an experience from their past creates a permanent connexion between them both. Virginia Woolf “was allowed uncensored entree to her father’s extended library, and from an early age determined to be a writer” [ 4 ] – that is to state, an experience from her childhood ( entree to her Father’s library ) influenced her passion for literature. Kazuo Ishiguro, Japanese-born British novelist, uses the experience of reading “the large 19th century novels” [ 5 ] , and applies the same techniques found in such novels “to state a narrative in modern life” [ 6 ] . Ishiguro besides uses “memory as a proficient device” [ 7 ] in his authorship, forcing the thought that an experience in the yesteryear can link us to the present twenty-four hours. Using both these devices, Ishiguro has become a successful writer, with effectual illustrations of utilizing personal yesteryear ( memory ) in novels such asThe Remains of the DayandNever Let Me Go.

William Carlos Williams ; known as an experimenter, pioneer and radical figure in American poesy [ 8 ] , besides uses his ain personal history to link to composing. Williams grew up in Rutherford, where his household provided him with a rich background in art and literature. Williams subsequently had a great impact on post-modernist American poesy, particularly in an of import period of alteration in American national individuality: Williams ‘s rise as an daring author after World War I. As a freshly established daring author, Williams created two types of descriptive poesy. ‘By The Road To The Contagious Hospital’ ( Spring and All )could be seen as the “purest look of the purer of these two descriptive manners, it marks a alone and unambiguously powerful minute in the history of an daring that has—ever since that moment—turned systematically off from the peculiar method the verse form applies” [ 9 ] . In other words, the influence of Williams’s upbringing evolved into the creative activity of his alone daring authorship manner, which hence established Williams a unafraid place in the history of poesy. The authors who attempt to copy Williams’s composing manner are by and large considered as his literary inheritor. However, Lawrence S. Rainey describes the truth of daring authorship as “like an antique mirror from which the quicksilver has seeped and faded, the vanguard has become the equivocal glass in which we seem to size up a confusing image of ourselves, an image that is stalking exactly because it is at the same time so likewise and unlike” [ 10 ] . It “evokes a universe that is already feathered at the borders, has already receded irretrievably into the past” [ 11 ] ; therefore foregrounding the inability to retrieve it accurately.

However, it can be argued that art can supply an accurate representation of the yesteryear. Bertolt Brecht, German theatre manager and Marxist, created theater that was a merchandise of society and history. As Hemon provinces in his essayOn Writers And History,it is possible to utilize “language as a tool” [ 12 ] for societal, political, and hence historical contemplation. The linguistic communication and action of Brecht’s theater was used for this specific contemplation. Brecht argued that Realistic theater exposed a political vision of society at the clemency of development and history. Brecht believed that the pragmatism of the clip, which was grounded on businessperson rules and characters, was an unjust representation of societal world. Brecht wanted theater to supply its audience with a contemplation of the businessperson world ( like political political orientation produced in the involvements of development ) . Therefore, Brecht pursued a technique in theater that included “alienating” [ 13 ] the audience from world. He wanted the audience to go forth behind their current positions of society and alternatively, inquiry the universe created by Capitalism and the society it surrounded. Brecht reflected on the disaffection consequence by saying that “the audience is no longer taking safety from the present twenty-four hours in history ; the present twenty-four hours becomes history” [ 14 ] . Through the creative activity of the disaffection consequence, Brecht “attained a lasting topographic point in the universe theatre’s repertoire” [ 15 ] .

Aleksander Hemon stated in his essay that it was of import for authors to “cut the fence” between past and present experience. In one of Frederic Jameson’s essays,The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,he discusses “pastiche” [ 16 ] , a term used to depict an art signifier that imitates another work, creative person or period in history. InThe Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,medley leads to “ historicism ” [ 17 ] which is, harmonizing to Jameson, a random repeat of past manners. This medley is now noticeable in all Fieldss of cultural production but is mostly present in the worldwide, American centred telecasting and Hollywood humanistic disciplines. When the yesteryear is represented through medley the consequence is a “ loss of historicalness ” [ 18 ] ; the yesteryear is represented as a “glimmering mirage” [ 19 ] . Jameson labels this as “ pop history ” ; a historical history created by the dad visuals and produced for commercial benefit. Pastiche pop history can be found in retro books and movies that mimic the visual aspect of an reliable historical history, but are merely our ain inaccurate stereotypes, created by the media and employed as a representation of times which are no longer accessible to us. Examples of this, which Jameson discusses, areRagtimeby E.L.Doctorow ( a postmodern novel ) , andAmerican Graffitiby George Lucas. The latter is a movie that attempts to recapture a lost world in the history of the Untied States. Both highlight the ability of literature to tell the yesteryear, nevertheless inaccurately.

It could be seen that literature is merely an embellished and hence untrusty position of history as Jameson suggests, or that it is an exact contemplation upon society and world at the clip as Brecht conveyed through his theater and essay. Literature can hence be seen as the connexion between society, world, civilization and history. Above all, Hemon believed that linguistic communication and literature had the power to be used for societal transmutation, as they are a contemplation ( whether accurate or non ) of world: “language [ is ] every bit stable as society” [ 20 ] . However, we may non ever be able to swear the history that literature depicts. Aleksander Hemon himself distinguishes between history as “what happened” and literature as “what might hold happened” [ 21 ] .

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Bibliography ( MHRA )

Brecht, Bretolt.The Messingkauf Dialogues, trans. by John Willett ( Methuen Publishing, 1978 ) .

Clarke, S.N.Virginia Woolf A Short Biography& lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.virginiawoolfsociety.co.uk/vw_res.biography.htm & gt ;

Dean, Michelle. ‘The Literature We Need: Aleksandar Hemon on Book of My Lives ‘ ( 2013 )& lt ;hypertext transfer protocol: //www.randomhouse.ca/hazlitt/blog/literature-we-need-aleksandar-hemon-book-my-lives & gt ;

Doctorow, E.L.Ragtime( Penguin Classics, 2006 ) .

Hemon, Aleksander & A ; McCann, Colum.On Writers And History( Pen & A ; Inc Press, 2003 ) , page Numberss unknown.

Ishiguro, Kazuo.Never Let Me Travel( Faber & A ; Faber, 2010 ) .

Ishiguro, Kazuo.The Remains of the Day( Faber & A ; Faber, 2010 ) .

Jameson, Fredric.The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism( Duke UP, 1991 ) .

Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation with Sebastian Groes,The New Seriousness( page Numberss unknown ) .

Lucas, George.American Graffiti( Grove Press, 1978 ) .

Pickard, Zachariah. ‘William Carlos Williams, Description, and the Avant-Garde ‘ ,Am Lit Hist( 2009 ) .

Poetry Foundation,William Carlos Williams& lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/william-carlos-williams & gt ;

Rainey, Lawrence S. ‘The Creation of the Avant-Garde: F. T. Marinetti and Ezra Pound ‘ ,Modernism/Modernity, 1.3, ( 1994 ) , 195-220.

White, John J. ‘Bertolt Brecht ‘s Dramatic Theory ‘ ,Comparative Drama, 40.3, ( 2006 ) , 393-399.

Williams, William Carlos.Spring And All( Robert McAlmon ‘s Contact Publishing Co, 1923 ) page Numberss unknown.

Woolf, VirginiaA Room Of One ‘sOwn& lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //victorianpersistence.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/a-room-of-ones-own-virginia-woolf-1929.pdf & gt ;

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