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2012 | 60 | 1 | 3-25

Article title

Iluzivnost jako kvaziargumentační postup: Barthes, Kundera a Flammarion : Literatura jako niterná vzpomínka na to, co jsme nezažili



Title variants

Illusiveness as a quasi-contribution to an argument: Barthes, Kundera, and Flammarion : Literature as a memory of the unexperienced

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1_The study of anti-illusive and illusive appproaches enables one to discover a fundamental aspect of the verisimilitude of literature. Although anti-illusive approaches tend to be considered reflexive passages, one can demonstrate how many narrative passages constitute mere mise-en-scène for reflexion. It will be apter and more efficient to indicate not the difference between anti-illusive and illusive approaches, but the fact that the two approaches are analogous: it is a matter of a performative utterance, whose believability stems from the figure of the narrator. If we cease to look at anti-illusive strategy as a rational commentary on the illusiveness of the story, but instead as an implicity illusive utterance, we shall be able to perceive postponement as a definite aspect of illusiveness. We thus also gradually make our way to literary verisimilitude itself, which is inherent in various tactics of illusiveness. In anti-illusive approaches we can then talk about a strategy for a quasi-contribution to an argument, since this strategy is based on illusiveness, not on evidence. To express the nature of illusiveness more clearly, I have constructed one possible model for it - false memory. The mechanism of illusiveness as false remembering can be illustrated by Kundera´s techniques of 'demystification'. In addition, however, we can, thanks to the mechanism of illusiveness, interpret the convincingness of Barthes´s essays, which are only apparently academic. Barthes´s Mythologies only pretends to be academic; it has nothing to do with verifiability. Even if they remain veiled in the mists of academicalism, Barthes´s analyses are still convincing. They derive their convincingness from illusiveness, from the very mechanism of literature. Consequently, Barthes ceases to be fot us a pioneer of structuralism and modern semiotics. If instead we look at him as a writer, we see his exploitation of the mechanism of false remembering.
2_Apart from Kundera and Barthes, I look at the work of Camille Flammarion, from the same point of view. His work concerns the line dividing life and death and also life and afterlife. The reason for choosing Flammarion was the duality of his position, as a celebrated scientist as his time, who also wrote 'academic' pieces about the afterlife. He wrote his quasi-scholarly works on a purely literary ground plan, even if he insisted that he was writing a report that had nothing to do with literature. This example demonstrates just how convincing literature can be when lacking a recognizable literary form. This may lead us to question whether literature (in its concealed illusory form) is the very principle of madness or vice versa.








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  • Česká literatura, redakce, Ústav pro českou literaturu AV ČR, v. v. i., Na Florenci 3/1420, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic


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Publication order reference


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