Character in Maupassant: Send in the Clones

  • Trevor A. Le V. Harris

Abstract

Readers of fiction expect to find characters in the books which they read. Characters help us make sense of the fiction and, by what is perhaps an inevitable process of extrapolation, cause us to think about ourselves and to reflect on our own experience. As E. M. Forster puts it, ‘the actors in a story are, or pretend to be, human beings’.1 As such they assist readers in the contemplation, evaluation and possibly even the modification of their own existence. This is especially true given that fictional people are so much more definite than people in history or the people we may know. As Forster points out, an author can tell the reader anything he wishes about his characters.2 We cannot always have access to this kind of knowledge about people in real life.

Keywords

Rubber Respiration Dine Abat Gout 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel (Harmondsworth: Pelican, 1962) p. 51.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Fiction (London: Methuen, 1983) p. 29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 11.
    Henry James, Partial Portraits (London: Macmillan, 1888) VIII, 285.Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    Paul Bourget, Etudes et portraits, 3 vols (Paris: Librairie Pion, 1884) III, 303.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    Jonathan Culler, commenting on Bouvard and Pécuchet, in Flaubert: The Uses of Uncertainty (London: Elek Books, 1974)Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    Maupassant, Correspondance, ed. Jacques Suffel, 3 vols (Evreux: Le Cercle du Bibliophile, 1973) III, 82, letter 553, 1889.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    Antonio and Mario Fratangelo, Guy de Maupassant: scrittore moderno (Florence: Olschki, 1976) p. 23.Google Scholar
  8. 16.
    Maupassant, Correspondance, I, 281, letter 180, 24 May 1880.Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    Henri Bergson, Le Rire (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1975) p. 29.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    Edmond About, Le Progrès (Paris: Hachette, 1864) p. 86.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Trevor A. Le V. Harris 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trevor A. Le V. Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Modern LanguagesUniversity of SalfordUK

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