Themes and Meanings

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Primarily because of the way in which Bioy Casares contains within the text of his novel both the adventure story, with its emphasis on plot, and the plotless, formless, psychological novel, The Invention of Morel has been considered extraordinarily inventive and original. Bioy Casares develops a psychological study of the narrator’s fascination for Faustine first in terms of the narrator’s belief that she is a mysterious, elusive woman and then in terms of his knowledge that she exists on another temporal plane. The problem established by the novel, that of two different kinds of reality—one, the sensorial experience of the narrator, and the other, the projected record of the sensorial experience of Faustine—is a fantastic one that the narrator proceeds to solve in a rational manner. If it is true, as Morel contends, that the soul passes over to the recorded complex of sensorial experiences when the original photographed object ceases to exist, the narrator can effect his inclusion in Faustine’s world by photographing himself as he interacts with the images.

The Invention of Morel poses the essential questions of ontology, for it deals with the very nature of human existence. It also is allegorical, in that the questions posed are equally valid in the ontology of the artistic or literary creation. The images are fictitious inventions, formulated by an exact reproduction of all the senses. When the narrator approaches the...

(The entire section is 471 words.)