Humans Death of SocratesThe anachronistic elements in the

Humans can go back to their memories and try to recall what once happened. It does not necessarily mean that what they recall is what happened truly. It can also be seen in our narrative. When humans narrate an event from the past they create fiction. They idealize their memory. The term “Historiographic Metafiction” coined by Linda Hutcheon is used by many writers. (3)  John Fowles, in his novel French Lieutenant’s Woman, uses this narrative form thoroughly. He not only writes a fictional novel but also he places anachronistic elements to go even further. The book’s protagonist Sarah has a twentieth-century mindset and she appears in a setting of the nineteenth-century Victorian era. Historiographic Metafiction can also be seen in paintings. Jacques-Louis David’s famous painting The Death of Socrates is one of the finest examples of this kind. Both the book’s and the painting’s main characters contain unfit characters carrying violating ideas for their society. Both the narrative of French Lieutenant’s Wife and the painting of The Death of Socrates present an ontological and existential crisis in an anachronistic manner. Jacques-Louis David The Death of SocratesThe anachronistic elements in the painting are Socrates himself who is sitting on the bed and the Plato who is depicted as an old man. Socrates, when he died he was older than the Plato. However, in the painting, he is a well-built middle-aged man. His appearance is not the only thing that is anachronistic. His ideas are also unprecedented. Just as the depiction of Sarah, Socrates is depicted as the creator of the works’ ideal being. He is highlighted. He is not wanted and he is asked to drink the hemlock that will kill him. Sarah chooses to live in the Lyme Regis where she is called “Tragedy” instead of moving elsewhere where she could be unknown. (Fowles, 4) Socrates also chooses to not to move somewhere else, he refuses to cease his ideas. Both Sarah and Socrates with their own existence cause public indignation, for they are the exact thing that their society against. Socrates rejects the Gods, Sarah rejects social boundaries of Victorian time set for women. Just by existing, they deny what is believed by many. They are embodying their ideas.The painting can also be read from left to right. Centering the old man who is assumed to be Plato we see the memory of Plato, who in fact narrates what happened in his book Apology. (17-42) Reading from this perspective also makes it clear the matter of Plato’s depiction as an older man than Socrates.  “The Death of Socrates: How To Read A Painting” by nerdwriter1David breaks the reality and creates a metafiction in his painting. He presents Plato in an anachronistic way, yet it is also historiographic while reading the painting from left to right as presented above. In Fowles’ novel, despite the fact that Sarah’s ideas and her characteristics are not teleological, her struggle and the behaviours she receives from other people in the novel are matching with history. In other words, her ideas are historically immature and from that perspective she is anachronistic, yet her struggles go hand in hand with the flow of the history. Linda Hutcheon in her book A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction argues that popular novels such as Fowles’ French Lieutenant’s Wife are “intensely self-reflexive and yet paradoxically also lay claim to historical events and personages.” (5)


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