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Eighteenth-Century Fiction and the Reinvention of Wonder$
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Sarah Tindal Kareem

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199689101

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199689101.001.0001

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“Marvelous Tales of Wonders Performed, or Rather, Not Performed” in Baron Munchausen’s Narrative

“Marvelous Tales of Wonders Performed, or Rather, Not Performed” in Baron Munchausen’s Narrative

Chapter:
(p.154) 4 “Marvelous Tales of Wonders Performed, or Rather, Not Performed” in Baron Munchausen’s Narrative
Source:
Eighteenth-Century Fiction and the Reinvention of Wonder
Author(s):

Sarah Tindal Kareem

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199689101.003.0005

This chapter turns to Rudolf Raspe’s Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels (1785). A loose collection of absurd tales written by the Hanoverian Raspe, this text, an outlier amidst the otherwise well-known English fictions gathered together in this study, nontheless plays an important role in shaping the English literary marvelous. Raspe renders an impossible world in English natural philosophy’s matter of fact idiom. The Narrative’s hyper-realistic narration of the marvelous defamiliarizes the act of reading in order to produce the same kind of vertiginous effect that earlier fictions were able to produce by virtue of the fact that fiction’s conventions were still undefined. The Narrative prescribes the skepticism its estranging marvelous effects produce as the orientation with which its readers should navigate the world beyond the text.

Keywords:   Rudolf Raspe, Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels, fictionality, realism, skepticism, Munchausen, Münchhausen

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