Picking the Lock: Historical Documentary Methods in Alessandro Manzoni’s I promessi sposi and Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno
Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Comparative Literature Program
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This thesis is concerned with the use of historical documentary narration in the Italian novel "I promessi sposi" by Alessandro Manzoni and the American novella "Benito Cereno" by Herman Melville. Using a critical lens derived from narratology, this thesis examines how outside sources and documents, in the form of testimony, depositions, edicts, or chronicles are used as narrative strategies to distinguish or complicate the boundaries between fact and fiction. It investigates how historical narratives are formed by authorizing certain sources, and how those historical narratives can affirm false truths in the interest of power.