Coralità modernista: multilinearità e resistenza alle coincidenze

Antonio Bibbò


Coincidences are less represented in modernist network and multi-linear narratives than in traditional multi-plot novels. Not only do their storylines rarely overlap and generally tend to hang loose, but also their characters tend to change greatly and unexpectedly during the course of the narration, so as to emphasize a definite lack of direction in the stories. They do not coincide with themselves, so to speak. Nonetheless, modernist authors of multi-linear novels acknowledge the existence of numerous meaningless coincidences as a characteristic of city life, and sometimes a way to develop their characters’ incoherent portraits rather than their stories. Drawing from both high- and low-brow examples belonging to different literary traditions, I will argue that coincidences in modernist novels do not disappear, but rather undergo a process of re-functionalization; they confirm the modernist tendency to character-driven narratives and also play a crucial role in providing unity to fragmentary and disconnected narratives.

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