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Metatextual games in the novel The Book of Metopolis by Ştefan Bănulescu PhD student Mihaela Vatamanu, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi, Romania.

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Presentation on theme: "Metatextual games in the novel The Book of Metopolis by Ştefan Bănulescu PhD student Mihaela Vatamanu, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi, Romania."— Presentation transcript:

1 Metatextual games in the novel The Book of Metopolis by Ştefan Bănulescu PhD student Mihaela Vatamanu, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi, Romania

2 Objectives of research: In this paper we propose an analysis of the way in which metatextual elements appear in the novel The Book of Metopolis by tefan Bănulescu. *tefan Bănulescu ( ) is a talented Romanian writer associated to the generation of writers of the 1960’s. Books published: Iarna bărbailor/ Men’s Winter (1965), Cântece de Câmpie/ Songs of the Plains (1968), Scrisori provinciale/ Provincial Letters (1976), Cartea de la Metopolis/ The Book of Metopolis (the first book of the tetralogy Cartea Milionarului/ The Book of the Millionaire, 1977), Scrisori din Provincia de Sud-Est sau O bătălie cu povestiri/ Letters from the South-Eastern Province or A Battle of Stories (1994), Elegii la sfârit de secol/ Elegies at the End of the Century (1999).

3 Methodology: This approach is based on the application of Gerard Genette’s conceits of formal narratology as well as on the text’s stratification in layers (the narrative text disposed like a Chinese box) following the pattern of Lucien Dällenbach’s theory of the mirror in the text. Also we applied the notion of circular reading, or (re)reading – terms introduced in Romanian literature criticism by Matei Călinescu – as a main instrument of an adequate understanding of Bănulescu’s text.

4 Main ideas in the article: - Bănulescu’s originality is once again revealed at this level of the narrative technique too. - The text is mainly about the Millionaire, inhabitant of Metopolis, and his attempt of collecting all the stories in the city with the aim of putting them together in a book. - The characters brought in the foreground of the plot enjoy their own stories thus the book that the Millionaire wants to write consists of multiple narrative kernels. - When referring to the novel The Book of Metopolis, one could unmistakably consider it a book with windows. - As a first-degree narrator of the text, the Millionaire also uses some second-degree narrators, like the General Marosin and the Topometrist, who were the only ones to have witnessed the course of some events.

5 Main ideas in the article: - The action is thus perceived through more angles and some hypothesis overturn in order to be replaced by new ones. - The text creates the impression that it continuously changes under the reader’s eyes, without ever coming to a final shape. - New details always seem to appear possibly resulting in a complete change of perspective. - As the incipit does not prepare a traditional novel framework at all, the end is long in coming, outlined through the perspective of a theatre bill, synthesising the allusions of the Byzantine world that the author wants or seems to sketch here.

6 Conclusions: tefan Bănulescu proves himself a skillful handler of the “mise en abyme” technique. The text leaves the impression that its author is always playing with the reader, thus making necessary the permanent practice of circular reading.

7 Minimal bibliography: Bănulescu,. (2005). Opere/ Works, volumes I-II (Volume I: Iarna bărbaţilor/ Men’s Winter; Cartea Milionarului; Proză eseistică/ The Book of the Millionaire; Essays Volume II: Proză memorialistică/ Biographical Prose; Publicistică/ Journalism; Corespondenţă/ Correspondence), Edition by Oana Soare, Preface by Eugen Simion. Bucureti: The National Foundation for Science and Art Publishing House, Univers Enciclopedic Publishing House. Călinescu, M. (2003.) A citi, a reciti. Către o poetică a relecturii – cu un capitol românesc inedit despre Mateiu I. Caragiale – To read, to read again: towards a poetic of reading (again), translation from English by Virgil Stanciu, Iai: Polirom Publishing House.

8 Dällenbach L. (1977). Le Récit spéculaire, Paris: Seuils. Hutcheon, L. (2002). Poetica postmodernismului/ A Poetics of Postmodernism, translation from English by Dan Popescu, Bucureti: Univers Publishing House. Genette, G. (1994). Introducere în arhitext/ Introduction to the architext, translation from French by Ion Pop, Bucureti: Univers Publishing House.

9 Keywords: metatext; formal narratology; narrative strategy; rereading; narrative kernel; first-degree narrator; second-degree narrator.


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