Apokryfní přepisy fikčních světů: trojí zpracování příběhu o babylonské věži v současné české próze
APOCRYPHAL TRANSCRIPTIONS OF FICTIONAL WORLDS: THREE TREATMENTS OF THE TOWER OF BABEL IN CONTEMPORARY CZECH FICTION
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The article is concerned with special forms and modifications of the intertextual relations on which prose works are based. In modern literature these are usually characterized in various secondary texts by means of the woolly term ‘apocrypha’. The article focuses on three works of Czech fiction, which ‘apocryphally’ follow on from the Old Testament myth about the erection of the tower of Babel – namely, the story ‘Záhadná věž v B.’ (The Enigmatic Tower of B.) by Milan Uhde (b. 1936) from the 1967 anthology of that name, the novel V jámě lvové (In the Lion’s Den, 1997) by Jan Jandourek (b. 1965), and the story ‘Babylonská věž’ (Tower of Babel) by Viktor Fischl (1912–2006), from his collection Apokryfy (Apocrypha, 2004). On the basis of analyses and comparison of these works with each other and further works with the same trope the essay searches for characteristics of their intertextual dimensions and contrasts them. Using Doležel’s typology of the transduction of fictional worlds the article explores how these characteristics are expressed in the structuring and semantic transformations of fictional worlds, which arise with the transcription of a fictional world of the pre-text: the essay reveals how the trope varies in the associated texts, how, and to what extent, the motif is embellished or is, by contract, simplified and demythicized, sometimes ironized. The article also considers the thematic foregroundings of the trope in the associated texts, its allegorization, that is, the intertextual changes in which the mythic event is enhanced by hidden unoriginal semantic levels (thus, for example, the Tower of Babel becomes the starting point for allegorical social hyperbole, artistic reflections on a crisis of communication or for the literary expression of epistemic scepticism). The article ultimately also reveals how ‘apocryphality’ as a distinctive intertextual quality of the fiction examined corresponds to the semantic transformations of the dioecious fictional world of the myth, by which Doležel defines his conception of the myth of ‘the modern’.
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