chapter  3
Realism and Desire: Balzac and the Problem of the Subject
Pages 35

The novel is the end of genre in the sense in which it has been defined in the previous chapter: a narrative ideologeme whose outer form, secreted like a shell or exoskeleton, continues to emit its ideological message long after the extinction of its host. For the novel, as it explores its mature and original possibilities in the nineteenth century, is not an outer, conventional form of that kind. Rather, such forms, and their remains-inherited narrative paradigms, conventional actantial or proairetic schemata1-are the raw material on which the novel works, transforming their "telling" into its "showing," estranging commonplaces against the freshness of some unexpected "real,"

foregrounding convention itself as that through which readers have hitherto received their notions of events, psychology, experience, space, and time.