Reading John Banville Through Jean Baudrillard

by Hedda Friberg-Harnesk

Reviews

"Hedda Friberg-Harnesk sheds new light on the fiction of John Banville thanks to an original theoretical frame: her perceptive use of Baudrillard’s orders of simulacra engages the reader in a stimulating critical conversation with the unstable and uncertain worlds and beings of Banvillean fiction. ... [Her] eloquent, thought-provoking study grants the reader a deeper insight into Banville’s bewitching “territory of mercurial instability” ... This brilliant book, which itself involves creative reiterations, casts light on Banville’s mature treatment of exquisitely recycled literary concerns in his more recent fiction, urging the reader to delve further into his work and again admire its beautifully crafted simulacra." — Études Irlandaises

"Hedda Friberg-Harnesk’s brilliant new study offers an original and intimate analysis of John Banville’s preoccupations with disguise, duplicity, and simulation. In this incisive reading of seven novels and two plays, deeply informed by the work of Jean Baudrillard, Banville emerges as one of the great writers of our age. Friberg-Harnesk shows us how to read Banville, and to read him well, as a writer not just troubled by modernist problems of existence and representation, but determined to explore the creative and restorative strategies necessary to cope with them." —Professor John Brannigan, University College Dublin

“There is a wealth of knowledge in this sensitive reading of John Banville’s work. Hedda Friberg-Harnesk uses the theories of Jean Baudrillard as a springboard into the myriad realms of Banville’s fiction, showing how his characters anxiously move between memory and imagination, between the achingly real and the self-consciously imagined. This reading of John Banville’s oeuvre in the light of Jean Baudrillard’s theory of simulacra opens up a fascinating critical engagement with the work, illuminating his literary concerns and adding to our understanding of his art as a whole.” —Professor Derek Hand, Head of the School of English, Dublin City University

"This perceptive study considers Banville’s major works of the last two decades—that 'shrouded fictional territory'—in the light of Jean Baudrillard’s theory of the inescapability of simulation and simulacra. Pinpointing the compelling sense of radical uncertainty throughout Banville’s supremely stylish and dark novels which increasingly seem to circle round a core of emptiness, Hedda Friberg-Harnesk applies Baudrillard’s arresting ideas to examine Banville’s various and progressive dissolutions of self and world in modernity with both penetration and eloquence. This book throws a fascinating new light on a wide range of Banville’s recurring motifs and preoccupations." —Patricia Coughlan, Professor Emerita, School of English, University College, Cork


 

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