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Title: Mimesis w chłopskich powieściach Orzeszkowej
Authors: Kłosiński, Krzysztof
Keywords: mimesis; folklor; liteartura; Eliza Orzeszkowa
Issue Date: 1990
Publisher: Katowice : Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Abstract: Mimesis of the novel is described in this work in the intertextual perspective. The fictional tex t is treated as the field or crossing quotations, paraphrases and transformations. In the 19th c. Polish novel the peasant subject was considered as particularly realistic. Hence the choice of the subject of analysis: three peasant novels of Eliza Orzeszkowa — Niziny, Dziwrdziowie and Cham. In the introduction a short history of shaping the notion of intertextuality in the works of Kristeva and Barthes has been reminded. Intertextuality is here connected with such notions as mimesis and structurizing. Only this notional triad allows to define th e novel again in relation to th e tradition which saw representing the reality in her. In order to catch the “representation” itself, one should abandon confronting text with the reality and take up analysis in different direction: show the work of text as structurizing which take place in intertextual space. Texts, and more precisely: intertexts, taking part in structurizing Orzeszkowa's peasant novels have been grouped in terms of their genre attachment. As a result one can speak about four codes (in the Barthesian sense) structurizing these novels: literary code, code of the original, theatrical code and code of knowledge. Each of them opens the perspective of quoting: literature about folk of folklcristic original, theatricalness of melodrama, discourse of science. Four chapters of the book contain detailed analyses showing how each of the above mentioned codes participates in structurizing Orzeszkowa’s novels. Since one talks about the sequence of texts, it is often observable how the same code “acts” in different ways in particular texts. In the fourth chapter (Knowledge), for example, it has been shown how the configuration of texts imposing meanings on the novels changes within the same code. Her representation of a peasant Orzeszkowa builds also on the basis of certain scientific knowledge. But from a novel to a novel the character of this knowledge changes. The peasant from Niziny is a primitive man following Spencer. The peasant from Dziurdziowie is both primitive in a Taylorlike way and “secondary” — as a man doomed by high culture to digest its former wastes. In Cham. th e peasant is primitive in the anthropological sense but also primitive in a different sense: it is somebody familiar with nature and God similarly to the first Christians. The characteristics of realism is overlapping of many codes in one text. Thus, it often happens that in the following chapters the same 'places” of texts undergoing different structurizations depending on what code the book uses are called. Let’s take, for example, Orzeszkowa’s Cham. In the first chapter (Literature) the plot of this novel is read as transformation of the scheme of educational idyll characteristic for folk tale. In the second chapter (Original) the plot of Cham gains sense as an argument in the positivistic discussion on the crisis of traditional folk culture. In the third chapter (Theatre) the same plot turns out to be a melodrama written in the novel. In the fourth chapter (Knowledge) the plot of Cham is read as a confrontation of two alternative visions of man built by Renan’s psychology of religion and Krafft-Ebing’s theory of “neurosis”. The intertextual location defines each time different structurization of the meanings of texts. Thus, one cannot speak about its single structure. Orzeszkowa’s peasant novels repeat and transform plot schemes, compositional ideas and stylistic cliches of literature on folk subjects; they take in a big portion of folkloristic texts; they try with their representations to compete with folk melodrama, so fashionable in the latter part of the 19th c., they finally work out their subject making use of the wide anthropological knowledge of the epoch. On the one hand, we have to do here with certain encyklopaedic ambition. Representation of the world is to be the presentation of knowledge about him, is to be an attempt of mathesis. These are the intentions discussed by the author in her programmes. On the other hand, this gluing together of the multitude of quotations, paraphrases and transformations which are uncovered by intertextual analysis, is after all bristling with contradictions, ambiguous, non-reducable to one image of the world. When speaking about realism as representing the reality all this multitude undergoes reduction. Searching for one image of the world and its sense closed in a structure is then released. And sooner or later literature disappears, it turns out to be transparent. One can see it again when the representation itself w ill become the subject of interest.
ISBN: 8322603150
Appears in Collections:Książki/rozdziały (W.Hum.)

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