The Poetics of “Pure Invention”: John Banville’s Ghosts
Keywords:Ghosts, Pure invention, Paintings, Intertext, Narrative, Vaublin
This essay argues that John Banville’s Ghosts (1993) may in fact be Banville’s most technically inventive novel, replete as it is with multi-layered ontological levels that repeatedly bring its primary diegetic discourse into communion with other artistic forms – music, paintings, statues, as well as a narrative saturation with other literary antecedents that exceeds anything found elsewhere in his work. Ghosts demonstrates an implicit layering of dialectical levels, in effect a narrative enactment of the multiple worlds theory that so fascinates several of Banville’s narrators. Nowhere else does he generate so comprehensive a model of a multi-level ontological system in which the levels intersect so purposefully as Ghosts. This essay maps out a topography of what is effectively a sophisticated fictional variant on the scientific multiple worlds theory in Ghosts, and offers some perspectives on the significance of this aesthetic model.
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