The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction with a New Epilogue

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Oxford University Press, Apr 6, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 224 pages
Frank Kermode is one of our most distinguished critics of English literature. Here, he contributes a new epilogue to his collection of classic lectures on the relationship of fiction to age-old concepts of apocalyptic chaos and crisis. Prompted by the approach of the millennium, he revisits the book which brings his highly concentrated insights to bear on some of the most unyielding philosophical and aesthetic enigmas. Examining the works of writers from Plato to William Burrows, Kermode shows how they have persistently imposed their "fictions" upon the face of eternity and how these have reflected the apocalyptic spirit. Kermode then discusses literature at a time when new fictive explanations, as used by Spenser and Shakespeare, were being devised to fit a world of uncertain beginning and end. He goes on to deal perceptively with modern literature with "traditionalists" such as Yeats, Eliot, and Joyce, as well as contemporary "schismatics," the French "new novelists," and such seminal figures as Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett. Whether weighing the difference between modern and earlier modes of apocalyptic thought, considering the degeneration of fiction into myth, or commenting on the vogue of the Absurd, Kermode is distinctly lucid, persuasive, witty, and prodigal of ideas.

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THE SENSE OF AN ENDING: Studies In The Theory Of Fiction

User Review  - Kirkus

This is the most important book on aesthetics and culture to appear since Rosenberg's The Tradition of the New and Sypher's Loss of the Self. Working from a fresh and sophisticated premise—the ... Read full review

Review: The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction

User Review  - Peter - Goodreads

This is a must read for readers. Kermode is brilliant in his analysis of human psychology and the stories we like to tell. Apocalyse now, anyone? Because I am aging, it must be all coming to an end soon, or eventually, which will seem like an instant … later. Read full review


The End
World Without End or Beginning
The Modern Apocalypse
Literary Fiction and Reality
Solitary Confinement
The Sense of an Ending 1999

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Page 7 - into the middest', in medias res, when they are born; they also die in mediis rebus, and to make sense of their span they need fictive concords with origins and ends, such as give meaning to lives and to poems.

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About the author (2000)

Frank Kermode was formerly King Edward VII Professor of English Literature, Cambridge University.

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