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Title: Rewriting the limits between history and fiction : Jorge Luis Borges in the work of Leonardo Sciascia
Author: Martinez Nistal, Clara
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 0383
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis examines the preoccupation with the relationship between history and fiction present in the work of Leonardo Sciascia and Jorge Luis Borges. By means of different narrative strategies, both authors underscore the narrative elements that underpin any reconstruction of the past, and in this way they link the process of reconstruction of past events to the process of rewriting of a literary work. They emphasise, however, that whereas the literary work can be enriched by multiple rewritings, multiple reconstructions of the same real past event risk threatening its truthfulness. This thesis investigates the different ways in which Borges’s and Sciascia’s works intersect, across three narrative forms: the detective story, the historical essay (inchiesta or ‘enquiry’ for Sciascia) and the historical fiction. The analysis of Sciascia’s texts starts from a focus on the structural similarities with the work of Borges in the detective story, paying particular attention to Il contesto (1971), Todo modo (1974), and Il cavaliere e la morte (1988). It then moves on to Sciascia’s inclusion of fragments of Borges’s texts in two of his inchieste, L’affaire Moro (1978) and Il teatro della memoria (1981). The last chapter of the thesis proposes a metafictional reading of Sciascia’s historical novel Il Consiglio d’Egitto (1963), in the light of the comparisons with Borges’s work undertaken in the previous chapters. The two key aims of this thesis are to show (1) that studying the ways in which Sciascia integrates Borges’s texts in his own writing allows a deeper understanding of Sciascia’s texts, but also underscores traits in Borges’s which might have been downplayed by previous criticism of his work, and (2) that reconsidering in the light of this understanding a number of Sciascia’s other texts where Borges’s influence is not explicit allows us to identify a preoccupation with regards to the relationship between history and fiction shared between both authors.
Supervisor: Mackintosh, Fiona ; Messina, Davide Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Leonardo Sciascia ; Jorge Luis Borges ; narrative forms ; detective story ; historical essay ; historical fiction ; comparative literature