Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2009 | 57 | 4 | 486-503

Article title

Muži s multiplikovanými tvárami, muži bez tvárí


Title variants


Languages of publication



This is an analysis of two characters of literature, Fantômas and Arsène Lupin, from the perspective of their identities as narrative structures of the texts in which they appear, and of the structuring of connections with the detective-fiction genre and differences from it. Fantômas, in the first part, comprises various identities, without any real face of his own: we always know him only as the persona he is disguised as at the time. the narrative scheme of the individual episodes tends to be such that amongst the closed circle of characters one is a murder victim and the other character vanishes: it turns out that the latter was not ‘the character himself’, but Fantômas in disguise – the murderer. in the first part he is present only by the ‘effect’ he has, but remains concealed. the genre of detective fiction in Fantômas is combined with other, sensational and horror elements of the structure. the article considers the Fantômas ideology of the anarchistic superman who evades the police and the social order – as opposed to the conservative ideology of classic detective fiction, which has to do with maintaining the social order. the author also analyzes rhetorical strategies used to conceal the identity of Fantômas and the detective Juve by means of false naming. Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-burglar, sometimes also works as a detective. Le chapelet rouge (1934) is essentially a classic work of detective fiction. L’Aiguille Creuse (1909) is written in the code of a novel-feuilleton, where the main plot line, the mystery of the hidden treasure, arches over the rising and falling of the plot (the individual mini-mysteries, which are disrupted in the course of the story). instead of a problem in Lupin’s crime stories (unlike detective stories) we are faced with the question of how Lupin manages to commit a burglary and, possibly, escape. the article analyzes, for example, the performative function of Lupin’s letter. The function is concealed. Unlike a visible function it is an illocutionary act with veiled perlocution by which Lupin achieves something else, hidden from the percipient. this enables Lupin to pull off the crime. in one of the stories it is the peculiar logic of performativity, whereby the percipient believes that the given state of affairs has already happened. Only with this conviction (which at the given moment is not genuine) he causes the state really to come into being after the fact. (Lupin gives the impression that he has escaped from prison, but in fact is still there.)


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


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.