Akira Vol. 1, No. 2 by Katsuhiro Otomo

By Katsuhiro Otomo

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Sample text

It must be possible for everything to follow from the beginning – at least retrospectively it must make sense, including – and especially – when one hadn’t grasped it at the time. It is essential for the production of sense and the generation of meaning that there must actually be no coincidences, seen from the end of the day. Of course, it is generally recognized that there is such a thing as coincidence, but in narrative coincidences are retrospectively transformed into a chain of causes and effects, giving rise to the illusion of fate and predestination.

Compare that winking beginning, which works through silent complicity – and successfully! – with the apodictic opening of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (1875/76): All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. I always thought this sentence would make no less sense in reverse (an opinion I found perfectly confirmed by the beginning of Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, 1969), despite my admiration for the author. I could still save Tolstoy for myself by reflecting that in fiction, every sentence is to be read not as a referential statement, but as a semi-proposition 23 Bernard Oldsey, “William Golding,” Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol.

If Don Quixote was about nothing more than this straightforward opposition between the fantasy of the chivalric novel and the realism of Don Quixote, we could swiftly dismiss Cervantes’ work as a practical manifesto for a new kind of novel. That would be no mean feat: the modern novel’s self-creation by bracketing itself off from the traditional genre of fantastic chivalric romance. But the situation is more complicated and therefore much more interesting: Don Quixote itself obscures its relationship to the genre it parodies.

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