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Mediating the World in the Novels of Iain Banks

The Paradigms of Fiction


Katarzyna Pisarska

This book offers a detailed analysis of all mainstream novels of Iain Banks. It explores the question of mediation, the process of a semiotic (re)construction of the world on the part of Banks’s characters, with reference to the four directions of fictional worldmodelling, i.e. the four types of relationship between the individual and the world established by the author’s first novel, The Wasp Factory. In order to give justice to the extremely eclectic novelistic production of Iain Banks, the analysis of fifteen of his novels contained in the present study employs diverse interpretative «tools», fusing elements of various methodologies: structural-semiotic analysis supplemented by a mythographic approach along with psychological and gender specific theories.
Mediating the World in the Novels of Iain Banks: The Paradigms of Fiction thus develops a critical paradigm capable of uniting the extremely versatile mainstream production of this Scottish writer.
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About the book

About the book


Katarzyna Pisarska’s Mediating the World is a pioneering attempt at a structural-semiotic analysis of Iain Banks’s literary fiction considered as a single oeuvre. All Banks’s fictions, she argues, are organized around the question of mediation between character and world, whether the mediation be social, impersonal and objective on the one hand, or individual, personal and subjective on the other. This insight gives rise to a typology of four different kinds of ‘world modeling.’ All four, she argues, derive from The Wasp Factory, but thereafter one or other is dominant in each of the later novels. The result is a powerfully productive methodology for reading Banks.

Andrew Milner

Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature, Monash University, Melbourne

Depicting the variety of Iain Banks’s multiple fictional realities, his escapist dream worlds, lands of music and of memory, the universes of the past and of the future, mythical regions and apocalyptic quarters, Katarzyna Pisarska’s thought-provoking inquiry presented in Mediating the World exposes the full scope of Banks’s oeuvre characteristics: its paradigm of postmodernist fiction, its roots in Scottish literary and cultural tradition, its interest in history and, self-reflectingly, also in the story telling. The survey of the fifteen novels demanded from its author not only superior interpreting talent, but also outstanding erudition and remarkable industry.

Andrzej Zgorzelski

Professor Emeritus of English Literature, University of Gdańsk

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