The introduction highlights the lack of closure and futuristic bent of Hugo’s later novels; the intertwining of poetics and politics in the exiled writer’s prolific literary production; the evolution from harmony to transcendence of his artistic and social ideal; and the book’s critical methodology, based largely on Thomas Weiskel’s analysis in The Romantic Sublime of the negative/horizontal and the positive/vertical sublime and on Paul Ricoeur’s reflections on analogical paradigms in The Rule of Metaphor and on historical discourse in Time and Narrative. By designating metaphor as a kind of description and historical emplotment as a kind of figuration, Ricoeur suggests that the realms of mimēsis and poiēsis are intimately related. For Hugo, too, the impulses of poetry and history are not mutually exclusive but strive towards common ends
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