Max Ernst’s work as an Antinovel

What interests me most about Ernst’s “Une Semaine de Bonté” is how it challenges our understanding of a novel. He presents it to us in the format of book but we’re forced to create our own narrative and connections between the illustration. As we discussed in class, his work is very provoking of the agency of the audience, forcing us to create our own plot and grapple with the illustrations to find logic when the very illustrations seem to defy reason. For this reason, I think I would personally classify Ernst’s work as an anti novel. An antinovel as defined on is: a literary work in which the author rejects the use of traditional elements of novel structure, especially in regard to development of plot and character. Ernst’s work really falls into this definition for me, especially how his illustrations seem to constantly disrupt our process of “reading”, each containing subtleties and details that both reference and distinguish one from the other at the same time. I found this youtube video in which at the very end they mention “Une Semaine de Bonté” as an anti novel.

What I appreciated the most was getting the chance to see her handle a copy of the original prints at around 3:30. It provided that piece of context, to understand that they were meant to be read, page by page, book by book. 


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