Yusuf Toropov ::
American novelist, nonfiction writer, playwright, and citizen of the Republic in Exile.
JIHADI: A LOVE STORY is published by Orenda Books.
From Ireland, creating the possibility of harmonious acceptance via literature and a global conversation about coexistence.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Victor Hugo On the Art of Digression
I thought I must have posted something explicitly citing this superb Adam Thirwell article on Victor Hugo's use of digression, a technique engineered right into the DNA of his masterwork LES MISERABLES. It turns out I didn't. So here it is.
An excerpt from Thirwell:
The subject of one of the longest novels in European
literature is - what else? - the infinite.
That is why its tempo is so explicit with slowness,
syncopated with digression. But in this novel there is no such thing as a
digression. Everything is relevant - since the subject of this book, quite
literally, is everything: "This book is a tragedy in which infinity plays
the lead," writes Hugo. "Man plays a supporting role."
"When the subject is not lost sight of, there is no
digression," Hugo wrote later on. But how can the subject of the novel
ever be lost sight of, if the lead character is infinity? In that case, nothing
will ever be a digression.
Yes, the length of this novel is important. Its quantity is
its quality. It represents an answer to a central artistic question, which was
not an answer the tradition of the novel has ever quite believed in since. This
is one reason why Hugo's novel is so strange, and so valuable.
And another relevant quote:
"For all is like an ocean, all flows and connects;
touch it in one place and it echoes at the other end of the world." -- Fyodor Dostoyevsky