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John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
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cover of the book How Novels Think

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cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

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cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

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cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

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The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bleg: Two-Generation Stories

Posted by Bill Benzon on 11/14/09 at 02:49 PM

In my recent post on Lévi-Strauss, Pandosto, The Winter’s Tale (& other Shakespeare plays), and Wuthering Heights I discuss a story structure that extends over two generations. There is a conflict in the first generation between a closely attached male-female couple that ends badly. There’s a marriage in the second generation that involves a children of first-generation characters (the problematic couple, but others as well). Depending on the story, this marriage may serve to heal the first-generation rift.

Here’s the question: Do we have other examples of that two-generation story structure?


Comments

Inchbald’s A Simple Story also works in this way

By on 11/14/09 at 04:14 PM | Permanent link to this comment

It’s been a million years since I read it, but doesn’t D. H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow have this structure, or a version of it?

By Flavia on 11/14/09 at 05:41 PM | Permanent link to this comment

I once wrote a novel a bit like that, called Gradisil. I feel a bit sheepish mentioning it, though.

By Adam Roberts on 11/14/09 at 06:26 PM | Permanent link to this comment

A more substantive response might be: I wonder if Zola’s Rougon-Macquart novels don’t work and rework this pattern, layering it over many more than two generations of course but laminating precisely this marriage-children-tension-rift-reconciliation?

By Adam Roberts on 11/14/09 at 06:29 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Also Dickens’ Little Dorrit, although you need to dig around in the back story to get the earlier generation’s narrative.

By Adam Roberts on 11/14/09 at 06:31 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Hmmm...Adam, and I actually reviewed Gradisil in this very blog. Only two generations?

By Bill Benzon on 11/14/09 at 07:02 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Wagner’s Ring Cycle does this sort of thing.

By on 11/14/09 at 07:44 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Nabokov, Ada, fills in the first’s double-coupling from the second generation’s perspective.

By nnyhav on 11/14/09 at 09:34 PM | Permanent link to this comment

"Adam, and I actually reviewed Gradisil in this very blog.

I remember!

Only two generations?

Christ, I can’t remember.  Wasn’t it two? Or was it three?

By Adam Roberts on 11/15/09 at 06:56 AM | Permanent link to this comment

I think it was three, but I don’t really remember.

By Bill Benzon on 11/15/09 at 08:41 AM | Permanent link to this comment

I’ve always thought that Mann’s Buddenbrooks was the sort of model for this. Though he does 4 generations rather than 2. Maybe it counts twice?

By adswithoutproducts on 11/15/09 at 09:22 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Ellen Spolsky, at Bar-Ilan, has suggested Daphnis and Chloe by Longus (via email).

By Bill Benzon on 11/15/09 at 05:30 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Oh, and I suppose Star Wars.

By on 11/15/09 at 10:40 PM | Permanent link to this comment

The Prestige (the novel by Christopher Priest, but not the film by Christopher Nolan) has a two-generation structure (though there is actually a third generation in between that isn’t much noticed in the novel).

By on 11/16/09 at 08:34 AM | Permanent link to this comment

How about Back To The Future?

By on 11/16/09 at 09:47 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Jane Austen often contrasts the parental marriage with the hoped-for marriage of daughters.

By on 11/16/09 at 01:37 PM | Permanent link to this comment

I’ve been reading ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ by Alexander Dumas and it also features this generational, ‘sins of the father’ kind of structure. Actually, times two! But since the count is looking for revenge I don’t think the marriages are going to do much healing…

By on 11/17/09 at 08:34 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Robert Heinlein’s Time for the Stars features one generation interacting with several (due to relativistic time-dilation effects): I’m not sure that’s quite what you’re looking for.

There are other science fiction stories about “generation ships” which might fit, including Ben Bova’s “Exiles” trilogy.

By Ahistoricality on 11/20/09 at 05:48 PM | Permanent link to this comment

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