Literature and Culture

Vol. 57 (2019)

The Unbounded: On the Fragmentation Strategies in B. S. Johnson’s Novel

Pages: 61 - 73

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This paper examines the fragmentation strategies in B. S. Johnson’s The Unfortunates from the perspective of the theory of the novel, realism and literary sociology. This framework facilitates an investigation into the novel’s construction: ranging from the global level of text organisation, typographical construction and formal composition, down to the local level of semantic structure and syntax. Analytic conclusions suggest that fragmentation is ubiquitous, which leads to the violation of most of the novel’s components, its traditional and conventional elements, with an overriding impact on the narrative. As a result, The Unfortunates maintains its narrative coherence on the basis of different textual cues and generates its semantic potentialities in an alternative way. This to say, the novel’s “methodology” rests on the narrative agent, the act of narrating and meta-narration. These features contribute to what commonly passes as experimentalism of The Unfortunates.



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