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Title: "Happines is fine, but it's rather boring".Polyphony, crisis and return in Graham Swift's novels
Authors: Tolu, Andrea
Keywords: Graham Swift’s stylePolyphony in Graham SwiftCrisis in Graham Swift’s novelsReturn to innocence in Graham Swift
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Andrea Tolu, ""Happines is fine, but it's rather boring".Polyphony, crisis and return in Graham Swift's novels", in: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali, IX (2002), pp. 35-51
Series/Report no.: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali
IX (2002)
Graham Swift was one of the most successful British authors writing during the 70s and part of the 80s, along with Barnes, McEwan and Ishiguro. Critics considered unanimously "Waterland" (1983) to be his masterpiece, but were not impressed with his later novels, until "Last Orders" (1996) won the Booker Price and renewed the interest in Swift’s works.
Swift’s novels are here examined by focussing on both their style and content: the emblematic feature in the author’s writing style, polyphony (of which some examples are discussed); the recurrent motif of men and women in a profound state of crisis (which can become a moment of knowledge and awareness although it can also bring to the realisation that the previous ‘stillness’ was in reality a period of happiness); and the issue of the characters’ desire to return to a condition of innocence preceding the crisis. These last desires normally lead to the consideration of the imperfection of such a return. At this point, narration gains extreme importance, as far as the re-elaboration of the past is concerned. According to the author, it seems right to conclude that in Swift’s novels, the telling of stories achieves a therapeutic purpose.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1123-2684
Appears in Collections:2002 / 9 Prospero. Rivista di culture anglo-germaniche

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