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BOOKNOTES ofthe novel, she is clearly more concerned with a text's afterlife, how great novels live on in subsequent authors' works. Ironically, given Zarifopol-Johnston's effort to recuperate novels criticized for their formal incongruity, where To Kill a Text comes up short is in its structure. Although announced as a three-author study, three full chapters are devoted to Hugo and Dickens while Zola's two novels are dispatched too quickly. This is disconcerting, first, because Zola's novels seem so well suited to die type ofreading proposed, and second, because the Rabelaisian intertext (since it is impossible to write ofBakhtin without evoking Rabelais) makes it all the more frustrating to be left hungry. Otherwise, the book is generally successful and rewarding. It begins with a lucid "Meditation on Intertextuality." While Zarifopol-Johnston's perspective and terminology are overtly Bakhtinian, she is attentive to where her work intersects with and moves away from other types of influence studies, like those of Wellek and Bloom. In "Bakhtin's Dialogue with Hugo," she argues that the Préface de Cromwell and Notre-Dame de Paris stand as "unacknowledged intertexts for Bakhtin 's theory ofthe novel and ofdialogism" (33). By viewing Bakhtin as an author whose work, like that ofHugo, Dickens, and Zola, is overwritten by the "traces" of earlier writing, Zarifopol-Johnston is able to simultaneously perform and describe her method ofanalysis. In her third chapter, she takes die architecture ofthe NotreDame Cathedral, where Romanesque and Gothic intermingle, as an ekphrasis ofthe novel Notre-Dame, a symbol ofHugo's ideal ofa "complete" or truly "epic" work ofart, one which is "à la fois drame et épopée." Her argument, linking architecture and literature on the level ofboth plot and discourse, is elaborated in chapters 4 and 5, where die structural similarities between Notre-Dame and Bleak House allow her to again recast the flaw ofhybridity as strength. While there is a certain amount of repetition in these chapters, this results from Zarifopol's patient construction ofher argument and does not, on the whole, detract from her point. To Kill a Text will interest comparatists for its insights into the evolving vocabulary of nineteenth-century fiction as successive literary schools in France and England wrote and rewrote each other. It will also appeal to theorists interested in how Bakhtin continues to spark new analyses of familiar texts. I, for one, look forward to seeing if Zarifopol-Johnston returns to Zola and further develops the links between Hugo and Zola that she sketches here. Amy Reid New College ofthe University ofSouth Florida DAVID K. DANOW. The Spirit of Carnival: Magical Realism and the Grotesque. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 1995. 183 pp. In TheSpirit ofCarnivalDavid Danow builds a compelling comparative model which theorizes the twentieth-century representation ofthe carnivalesque in literature . According to Danow, two genres exemplify die distinct yet dialogic spaces consistently negotiating with each other on "the continuum of carnival" (137). Whereas Latin American magical realist works respond to morbid realities by Vol-. 21 (1997): 178 THE COMPAKATIST disclosing the magical, affirming, and vital aspects of carnival, the European literature of the Holocaust and the Second World War makes use of similar strategies to contend with the grotesque and hallucinatory experience ofterror. Concerned with philosophical and aesthetic problems of the genre, Danow mobilizes these bodies of literature as a means of exploring the spectrum of the carnivalesque. The subtitle of the book ("magical realism and the grotesque") identifies Danow's main preoccupation, as he argues that the two spheres ofthe carnivalesque persistently co-exist and communicate with each other in a Janus-like way; that is, its life-giving, hopeful, and positive elements continually dialogue with more horrific, grotesque, and negative elements. Equally fantastic and mythic, these two poles ofhuman experience persistently erase the other's boundaries, selfand other meeting in a continuum whereby ules extrêmes se touchent," much like Jung's "tail-eating serpent" (11). The book's first two chapters review Danow's general understanding ofthe carnivalesque in literature with the theoretical support ofBakhtin, Jung, and Nietzsche . Chapters 3 and 4 present a dialogue in themselves, whereby the carnivalesque in chosen literary texts rises up in riotous laughter under...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0887
Print ISSN
0195-7678
Pages
pp. 178-179
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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