[ilds] The real behind the fictional people and situations

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 13 10:03:50 PDT 2007

I guess at some point the List should make an attempt to define what is real and not real in fiction.  In my view, basing a character on a real person, the technique of a roman a clef, does not make that character "real."  My view, however, is probably extreme.  I tend to think anything mediated through an author's brain and which he labels fiction, no matter how factual in basis, is still fiction.  James Joyce took great pains to make the Dublin of Ulysses "real."  I still call it fiction.  Lawrence Durrell, as Michael Haag shows, also took similar pains with representing the people and places of Alexandria.  I still call that fiction.  This seems self-evident to me, but maybe not.


-----Original Message-----
>From: Smithchamberlin at aol.com
>Sent: Jun 13, 2007 7:04 AM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: [ilds] The real behind the fictional people and situations
>For those interested in such things I suggest a thorough reading of Guenter  
>Grass's memoir "Beim Haeuten der Zwiebel" in which he notes dozens of examples 
> of people and events he experienced that he used in his various fictions.
>        Brewster
>In a message dated 5/20/2007 3:00:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time,  
>ilds-request at lists.uvic.ca writes:
>Message:  39
>Date: Sun, 20 May 2007 18:40:12 +0100
>From: Michael Haag  <michaelhaag at btinternet.com>
>Subject: Re: [ilds] Arnauti as  real
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>,  ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Message-ID:  <2918C3D7-06F9-11DC-9409-000393B1149C at btinternet.com>
>Content-Type:  text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed
>My answer is that when I  first Durrell, which was in the form of The 
>Alexandria Quartet, I felt  that behind many of the characters there 
>were real people.  That was  probably just the effect of Durrell writing 
>in the first person.   Nevertheless that sense stayed with me.  In time 
>I discovered that a  great deal of Durrell's creations in the Quartet -- 
>characters, settings,  events -- were based on or in some way owed their 
>origin to real  characters, settings and events.  There is nothing 
>surprising about  this.  Writers do it all the time.  And of course what 
>writers  also do is base creations on themselves.  I do have the feeling 
>that  Durrell is always writing about his world and himself, and that he 
>is  desperately trying to escape both.  And  failing.

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