Podivuhodný labyrint každodennosti. Fikční svět Povídek malostranských.
THE REMARKABLE LABYRINTH OF EVERYDAY LIFE: THE FICTIONAL WORLD OF JAN NERUDA’S POVIDKE MALOSTRANSKE (TALES OF THE LESSER TOWN)
This article is concerned with narrative approaches that Jan Neruda (1834-1891) employed to construct the ambiguous, disorganized fictional world of his 'Povidky malostranské' (Tales of the Lesser Town). First, they are his preference for non-authoritarian narrators, particularly the personal narrator-observer. At many points throughout the text, this narrator changes into a medium through which 'flow' foreign opinions on elements of the fictional world. To this he then also adds his own insights and observations. Second, the implicit nature of the communication is extremely intensified here. Important information is usually provided in the form of vague hints, hidden behind a great quantity of insubstantial detail, in which both kinds of information is presented in the text mostly in the same manner. The connections among the individual items of information are similarly hidden: an explicit expression of causality rarely appears here, and when it does it is usually related to marginal matters. Third, compared to the traditional mode of narration, which organizes information about the fictional world along the axis of the story, here the initial narration branches out in several sides: the basic organizing principle of the narrative text ceases to be the linearity of time, and thus becomes the complexity of space. This special mode of narration is of fundamental consequence to the nature of the story and the characters. The story does not become visible; submerged in the over-sized 'skin' on the surface of the fiction, it makes its presence known only by sparse, not particularly clear signals. The characters comprise heterogeneous, often outright contradictory information of various provenance, making them also ambiguous and sometimes inconsistent. The narrative approaches have much in common with the principles of 20th c. experimental fiction. Unlike the latter, however, they retain the stable outer framework of the fictional world, which the chaotic, ambivalent interior action make understandable. There thus arises a considerable tension between the static macrostructure of the fictional world and its dynamic microstructures, which can be interpreted as a reflection of a world on the borderline between two periods of civilization.
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