Title

"The novel whose continuation you are hunting for" : Aporia and epiphany in If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

RIS ID

71352

Publication Details

Evans, S. ""The novel whose continuation you are hunting for" : Aporia and epiphany in If on a Winter's Night a Traveler." AUMLA-Journal of the Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association 117 (2012): 69-81.

Abstract

The "aporia-epiphany pair" is a necessary component of the literary game, because it arises from what Aarseth considers the foundation of the ergodic or game-based function of literature. If, in the ergodic the text, "nontrivial effort is required to allow the reader to traverse the text", and the reader's acations and choices play an active role in constituting the text, then there must necessarily be moments of aporia, during which the outcome cannot be known because the choice leading to it has not been made. Treating Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler as a textual game is not a novel approach--arguments on the theme appear in the bulk of critical material on Calvino, both positive and negative. Here, Evans explores the aporia-epiphany pairing in the novel as the ergodic text presents both a semantic and literal barrier to the rest of the text--the reader can no longer make sense of the text in part because the rest of the text is physically hidden.