Reading a Novel

Nicholas Royle

in Veering

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780748636549
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652303 | DOI:
Reading a Novel

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This chapter addresses the idea of reading a novel as an experience of veering, as well as looking at some of the ways in which novels themselves invite the readers to think about veering. It starts with a perhaps deceptively ‘easy read’: Alan Bennett's charming novel, The Uncommon Reader. The appeal of veering, as a way of talking about digression, deviation or divagation in novels, has to do with its sense of ongoing movement, an uncertainty in and of the present. ‘Wavering’ is not the same as ‘veering’, but they are close. James Joyce's Ulysses might lead us to think about veering as a key to what makes a literary classic or masterpiece. Veering is a figure for thinking about desire — at once reassuring and unsettling. Ulysses and In Search of Lost Time are both marked by an extraordinary sense of ‘veering about’.

Keywords: veering; The Uncommon Reader; Ulysses; In Search of Lost Time; wavering; literary classic; masterpiece

Chapter.  10043 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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