By William Donoghue
In Mannerist Fiction, William Donoghue re-conceptualizes the historical past of formalism in western literature. instead of presuming that literary experimentation with shape -- distorting house and time -- started within the 20th century with Modernism, Donoghue identifies the age of Copernicus because the crucible for the 1st experiments in spatial de-formation, which seemed in mannerist portray and literature. With wide-ranging erudition, Mannerist Fiction connects those literary and pictorial advancements and strains their repetition and evolution over the following years.Time and back, Donoghue explains, medical and literary paradigm shifts have happened in parallel. Rabelais and Jonson wrote within the aftermath of adjustments within the western experience of house wrought via Copernicus and the voyages of discovery, Jonathan speedy and the Marquis de Sade within the age of Newton, Thomas Pynchon within the age of Einstein. together with his research, Donoghue establishes disfigurement and deformation as perennial resources of literary fascination.
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Additional info for Mannerist Fiction: Pathologies of Space from Rabelais to Pynchon
At one moment he seems twenty feet tall, then at another he is able as a boy to pick up a stone that is fifty foot square and ten feet thick, which would mean he would have to be more in the order of two hundred feet tall. When he is at school Rabelais has him travel about like any normal student or tourist, visiting Toulouse, Bordeaux, and other cities, without apparent incident, and even has him contemplate studying medicine, as if he were an ordinary mortal. A normal book for someone this size would be the size of a golf ball, too small to decipher.
He says that he “with great Ease drew fifty of the Enemy’s largest Men of War after me” (34). We have already learned something about the Lilliputian king’s navy – that “some” at least of his “largest Men of War” are “Nine Foot long” (10). If the enemy also has nine-foot ships, it would seem hard to imagine Gulliver, who is six feet tall, being able to tow them all home like that, even if they were made of balsa wood. Has Swift made a mistake, or is Gulliver just bragging? Another instance that might seem spatially wrong is when twentyfour of the king’s horse guard conduct military exercises on a “two Foot and a half square” handkerchief that Gulliver stretches between stakes and makes into a raised platform (23).
Often enough we are in the area around Touraine, Rabelais’s birthplace. But when Pantagruel is old enough to go to school Gargantua, his father, sends him to Poitiers as if it were just up the road – as if the whole world were made up of giants just like him, with giant children going to giant schools. Pantagruel varies in size and location almost arbitrarily. At one moment he seems twenty feet tall, then at another he is able as a boy to pick up a stone that is fifty foot square and ten feet thick, which would mean he would have to be more in the order of two hundred feet tall.