juxtaposition and narrative

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

Professor Timmons writes, “Editing: the juxtapositioning of signs and symbols as an attempt to create or discover meanings. A significant element of narrative structure.”

I like the “create or discover meanings part.” Because it works with other forms, such as IF and hypertext, with their hidden structures. Consider this poem by Auden entitled The Shield of Achilles. First few lines go

She looked over his shoulder
For vines and olive trees . . .

All kinds of questions lead from these lines, not to mention the suspicion that poem may be longer. Calvino in If on a winter’s night a traveler takes this issue of narrative structure and makes it a part of the “plot” in the sense that the novels that never find completion compel much of the action. In the novel, a suggested novel won’t find completion, only If on a winter’s night a traveler will end, sort of.


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