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Models, gradations, experiments


Edward Balcerzan

The deepest crises cannot destroy the universal model of literariness. It maintains its appeal for participants in literary communication as a «contradictory» model. This thought recurs in many epochs. Literariness involves suspending the formal or logical norms of contradiction ( lex contraditionis). In everyday speech, it is not permissible for «A» to simultaneously be «not-A»; in literary structures this is the norm. This is both in the ideas, and in the tensions between the artificiality and naturalness of speech, the structure and the chaos of the plot, experimentation and revitalization of tradition, objective observation and a biased vision of the world, its visibility and invisibility, expressibility and inexpressibility, and a realistic and an imaginative focus. Executions of this model are gradative.
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Chapter 5: The Return of Structuralism


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Chapter 5:  The Return of Structuralism

There is no shortage of revolutions in the humanities. Their hypertrophy has been the eternal dilemma (or perhaps the charm?) of man’s spiritual activity. “I dreamed the word lution. It was meant to mean that lutiop was undergoing a revolution. Oh, our lutions!” Karol Irzykowski quipped ages ago. In our day the word REVOLUTION has given way to the TURN. Nominal substitutions come from the desire to renew our vocabulary, but first and foremost they are caused by the abundance of methodological initiatives, which, if we were to call all of them revolutions, would give rise to an apocalyptic sort of image indeed. How often can we break down our ways of thinking? Break the flow of knowledge? Level the work of the generations before us? The revolutionary sensitivity of modernity tolerated this view of history; the “political correctness” of postmodernity promotes a gentler sort of autocommentary (which in no way means that they are more merciful toward their opponents than revolutionary modernity was). A “turn” sounds better than a “revolution,” less bloody, “velvet,” it does not bring to mind a massacre, it manifests peace.

(Methodological) Turns, Retreats, and Returns

The turns thus far declared have been anthropological, dramaturgical, ethnic, feminist, gender, interpretive, intertextual, linguistic, cultural (culturalist), narrative (narrativist), rhetorical, performative, postmodern, postcolonial, translatological, iconic, topographical, anti-Structuralist… this is probably not all, but it will suffice as it is. Positive stances take the forefront...

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