The fantasy of myth and the truth of history: K. Ishiguro’s novel “The Buried Giant”

Abstract: 

The article suggests that Ishiguro's latest novel “The Buried Giant” should be read as one of the variants of modern history mythologization. In the literature of the 20th and the 21st centuries, mythology acts as an artistic means, corresponding to a particular concept of the world. The pathos of mythology is the discovery of permanent and important principles hidden under an ordinary surface and kept intact under any historical changes. Unlike Joyce's modernistic novel, where Stephen Dedalus dreams of freeing himself from the “nightmare of history”, Ishiguro uses mythology to reveal deep historical problems of being.

The novel “The Buried Giant” is placed in the wide context of Britain’s legendary history and, to a certain degree, of all mankind. The article indicates the presence of the historical background in the mythological time of fantasy. The novel tells us about the complexity and intricacy of human destinies, about loneliness and repentance, about memory and oblivion, about love and forgiveness. Ishiguro refers to global as well as to personal problems of life, using myths, stories and fantastic motifs as tools. Ishiguro’s novel was written for intellectuals, representing a kind of “science fiction” with a clearly expressed historical background, approaching the genre of parable in the end. In conclusion, attention is drawn to the fact that Ishiguro's novel is the novel of warning, which, in an artistic form, presents the awareness of history as a lesson for future generations.

Key words: 

Ishiguro, “The Buried Giant”, myth, Meletinskii, Gopman, medieval Britain, fantasy, memory, Sir Gawain, Britons, Saxons, dragons.

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