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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The most famous paragraphs in Trollope: Writing is hard

Part of the fun in reading Trollope is the strong personality and presence of the narrator - quite unusual for a third-person narrator to be so confidential w/ the reader. Noted in yesterday's post on the most unusual paragraph in all of Trollope how he steps aside from his own narration to comment on the story in progress - telling us that Eleanor will not marry the evil Slope nor the feckless Bertie Stanhope - and then ruminating for a few paragraphs on why that kind of information should not affect our engagement w/ the story, why readers are too involve in the minutia of plot and thereby miss the whole meaning and significance of the literary work. A little further on in the story he has another smart and rueful aside to his readers: as he's about to introduce a new and seemingly significant character, Arabin - and we're already about a third of the way through the novel - T talks about how difficult it is for authors to create literary characters: We know and perceive them so well in our minds, but how do you put that knowledge and understanding into words, how do you make them real, he asks. Is it by dialog, interior monologue, interaction with other characters, the back story, physical description? These are issues that have beset every writer who's ever taken a hand at a story or a novel, and they always will, and the solutions are infinite, but infinitely elusive. As Trollope concludes - in words succinct and true - writing is hard.

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