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Characters in Literary Fictions

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Edited By Jadwiga Wegrodzka

The book focuses on the category of character in fiction. It provides a general outline of different approaches to literary character followed by nineteen essays on individual authors from Conrad to Coetzee, on various genres from utopia, fantasy and gothic fiction to academic novel, and on characters’ extra-textual contexts from intertextuality to history and autobiography.
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Character sketch and its fantastic transformations: H. G. Wells's “The Crystal Egg”

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HALSZKA LELEŃ

The aim of this study is to discuss the applications of the supra-generic convention of fantastic fiction to redynamise the structuring of character in the short story by H. G. Wells entitled “The Crystal Egg” (1897). The text falls into the category of fantastic fiction understood as the fiction which assumes the implied reader’s “knowledge of the empirical reality” derived from his presupposed linguistic competence, and which describes the confrontation of a quasi-empirical model of reality with a different, strange model of reality (Zgorzelski 1984: 302)1. The discussion developed here aims to consider the artistic techniques used by Wells to represent characters in his short fiction.

The literary character is defined following Henryk Markiewicz: as a particular human subject of description endowed with some features, actions, and internal and external states (1996: 166-167). In my analysis, I assume that in the process of structuring the literary character, the important factors are both his/her directly expressed as well as implied features. The conventional strategies which determine the selection and organisation of a character’s internal and external attributes are also crucial (Markiewicz 1996: 171-72). Wells’s fictional protagonists are revealed not only through direct description but also indirectly through presenting their relationships with other characters and their attitudes to the elements of the fictional world. In the latter factor, the structure of the fictional world is of vital importance. It is therefore interesting to see ← 153 | 154 → how Wells uses the “two-world structure” constitutive...

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