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Literariness

Models, gradations, experiments

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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 6: Paraliterature: The Third Sphere, Which Is Really the First

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Chapter 6:  Paraliterature: The Third Sphere, Which Is Really the First

The literature/non-literature, poetry/non-poetry, art/non-art oppositions mark out the central path of study of man’s artistic endeavors and structure, as it were, the diversity of subjects and institutions in the space of culture. On a basic level these antinomies decide upon the “unity in multiplicity” of roles and tasks of artists, critics, academics, philosophers, amateur readers, publishers, bookdealers, librarians, bibliographers, editors of relevant magazines or sections of magazines, teachers, students, censors, sponsors of novel or drama competitions, reciters, theater people, creators of film and television adaptations, illustrators, workers in relevant governmental organs and low-level offices, and in some systems, politicians. Although the above dichotomies and those like them that structure our vision of culture are omnipresent in the colloquial and in speech, it is their activity which seemingly seals access to models that are more complex or less “stiff” that is stubbornly ascribed to Structuralism. Does the replacement of the “literature/non-literature” dichotomy with the “literature/paraliterature/non-literature” trichotomy, which I suggest, mean a revision of the Structuralist canon? And was this canon ever really obligatory? Before I deal with the peculiarities of paraliterature, a few words on the contemporary debate on the subject.

Another Debate: On Dichotomies

Examining contemporary methodological debates, Bogusław Żyłko thus presents the evolution of Viktor Zhivov’s views, so important to the upheavals of our time, which

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