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Articles 1 - 16 of 16

Full-Text Articles in Modern Literature

The Question Of Readability In Avant-Garde Fiction, Susan Rubin Suleiman Sep 1981

The Question Of Readability In Avant-Garde Fiction, Susan Rubin Suleiman

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

All avant-garde literature is in some sense «unreadable»—that is, unintelligible in terms of prevailing norms of intelligibility. Avant-garde fiction aggressively proclaims its transgressions of traditional narrative «logic,» and thus challenges at the same time the reader's belief in his or her sense-making ability; the reader may react to this threat by counter-attacking, dismissing the text as «unreadable.»

Paradoxically, the term «readable» has a negative value in Roland Barthes's terminology, where the «readable text» is opposed to Barthes's idealized notion of the truly modern «writable text.» According to Barthes, the «writable text» refuses commentary, defies all attempt ...


Understanding Narrative, Gerald Prince Sep 1981

Understanding Narrative, Gerald Prince

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Our ability to understand narratives—that is, our capacity for retelling them, paraphrasing them, summarizing them, expanding them, and specifying (at least some of) their points—is a function of our narrative competence. The latter is shown to include the following set of knowledges and abilities: (1) the knowledge that narrative consists of narrating (signs representing the narrating activity, its origin, and its destination) and narrated (signs representing real or fictive situations and events in a time sequence) and the ability to distinguish between the two; (2) the knowledge that the narrated describes changes of situations in time and that ...


On Reading Poems: Visual & Verbal Icons In William Carlos Williams' «Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus», Irene R. Fairley Sep 1981

On Reading Poems: Visual & Verbal Icons In William Carlos Williams' «Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus», Irene R. Fairley

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Williams' admiration for Brueghel's landscape is coded in structural and stylistic correspondences between the poem and the painting. Structures in the poem have effects analogous to the use of devices of color, line, foregrounding in the painting. The poem, like the painting, presents a «neutral» scene but subtly insures the reader's involvement. Further, Williams draws a visual statement so that graphic features suggest a global image isomorphic with the motif of descent. Features of the poem, such as line and clause length, syntactic construction, semantic coherence, are discussed as factors that contribute to rapid glancing and increase readability ...


Fiction And The Ontological Landscape, Thomas G. Pavel Sep 1981

Fiction And The Ontological Landscape, Thomas G. Pavel

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

The paper examines fictional ontologies in relation to the distinction between sacred and profane ontologies. This distinction suggests that most cultures organize their worldview into various ontological landscapes. Several types of such landscapes are examined and fiction is characterized as a peripheral ontology used for ludic and instructional purposes.


On Meanings And Descriptions, Mieke Bal Sep 1981

On Meanings And Descriptions, Mieke Bal

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Although descriptive passages would appear to be of marginal importance in narrative texts, they are, in fact, of both logical and semantic necessity. Narratology, therefore, must take these segments into account. In this article, I shall survey the present situation in this field and compare rival points of view. I shall also offer several suggestions for analyzing descriptions. The following topics will be discussed: the nature of description as a specific type of discourse which makes it recognizable as such; the internal structure of description; the place and function of descriptions in the text as a whole. In the latter ...


Semiotic Consequences, Jonathan Culler Sep 1981

Semiotic Consequences, Jonathan Culler

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

This paper outlines the semiotic perspectives of Saussure and Peirce and the points at which these quite different theories intersect. It considers the implications of these points of intersection for literary studies and uses the example of Oedipus Rex to illustrate the semiotic character of acts and facts.


The Nature Of Meaning Of Stories In Conversation, Livia Polanyi Sep 1981

The Nature Of Meaning Of Stories In Conversation, Livia Polanyi

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Although everyday stories told in the course of ongoing conversations are as open to multiple readings as many literary texts, the participants in the conversational storytelling situation must assign a meaning to a given telling of a story in order to facilitate the absorption of the story into the state of general talk which normally obtains. In the present paper, work done by the American linguistic school of narrative analysis (as begun by Labov and Waletzky and further developed by the author of this paper) is brought together with insights into conversational storytelling from ethno-methodological conversation analysts (Sacks, Jefferson, etc ...


A Musical Note, Steven Ungar Jan 1981

A Musical Note, Steven Ungar

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Frequent references to musical terms in Barthes's writings since 1970 suggest a progression beyond a standard semiological inquiry. A text on the «grain» of the voice, another on música practica, and a third on Romantic song develop a model of figuration Barthes explores actively in the Fragments d'un discours amoureux (A Lover's Discourse) and La Chambre claire.


R.B. Polygraphe, Betty R. Mcgraw, Steven Ungar Jan 1981

R.B. Polygraphe, Betty R. Mcgraw, Steven Ungar

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Introduction to the special issue


Roland Barthes's Secret Garden, Frances Bartkowski Jan 1981

Roland Barthes's Secret Garden, Frances Bartkowski

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

This article traces the metaphor of the body through all of Barthes's works in order to clarify a further view of Barthes as writer, critic, and reader. Though it is only disclosed in his autobiography as the «manaword» of his vocabulary, it appears as early as Writing Degree Zero in a discussion of 'style' as the literary element that Barthes cannot easily describe or define.

The indescribability of style will later be located in such notions as the writerly text, the text of bliss, the unsayable, the disreal. It is the body, the flesh, the idiosyncratic which hides within ...


A Message Without A Code?, Tom Conley Jan 1981

A Message Without A Code?, Tom Conley

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

The photographic paradox is said to be that of a message without a code, a communication lacking a relay or gap essential to the process of communication. Tracing the recurrence of Barthes's definition in the essays included in Image/Music/Text and in La Chambre claire, this paper argues that Barthes's definition is platonic in its will to dematerialize the troubling — graphic — immediacy of the photograph. He writes of the image in order to flee its signature. As a function of media, his categories are written in order to be insufficient and inadequate; to maintain an ineluctable difference ...


Barthes's Imaginary Voyages, Lynn A. Higgins Jan 1981

Barthes's Imaginary Voyages, Lynn A. Higgins

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Reading L 'Empire des signes and Alors la Chine as points of departure, the article explores a network of reciprocal images of the text as voyage and the voyage as text, with Barthes as a self-styled, disinherited ethnographer/traveler.


Narrative Finality, Armine Kotin Mortimer Jan 1981

Narrative Finality, Armine Kotin Mortimer

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

The cloturai device of narration as salvation represents the lack of finality in three novels. In De Beauvoir's Tous les hommes sont mortels an immortal character turns his story to account, but the novel makes a mockery of the historical sense by which men define themselves. In the closing pages of Butor's La Modification, the hero plans to write a book to save himself. Through the thrice-considered portrayal of the Paris-Rome relationship, the ending shows the reader how to bring about closure, but this collective critique written by readers will always be a future book. Simon's La ...


Roland Barthes: Recollections In Gratitude, Leon S. Roudiez Jan 1981

Roland Barthes: Recollections In Gratitude, Leon S. Roudiez

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

An informal homage in which I recall personal and professional encounters with Roland Barthes and his texts over a period of some twenty-five years, during which I developed increasing respect for the man and interest in his critical practice.


Sensationalism, Jean-Jacques Thomas Jan 1981

Sensationalism, Jean-Jacques Thomas

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Roland Barthes's fascination with discourse is usually considered a glorification of intellectual exchanges, the parade of a virtuoso eager to display his unalloyed dedication to logocentrism. As a consequence, scholars tend to rely on his writings as if they were principally a catalogue for the functional concepts of modernity.

The purpose of this article is to show through a close reading of Barthes's latter-day texts that his exhilarating verbal brio is first and foremost a sensuous relationship between the speaking subject and the verbal substance. In his case, this particular relationship generates a discourse akin to physical heroism ...


Barthes's Body Of Knowledge, Gregory L. Ulmer Jan 1981

Barthes's Body Of Knowledge, Gregory L. Ulmer

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

Roland Barthes invites a reading of his own texts in terms of the same methodologies he employs in his criticism. The «Biographeme»—those few details, preferences, inflections—which Barthes identified in his favorite authors, may be sought in Barthes as well. Barthes's biographeme, for me, consists of a glutinous effect associated with the organs of the mouth and throat as presented in several images, some of which belong to his tutor texts (Poe and Réquichot). An analysis of this biographeme reveals Barthes's strategy for disseminating the subject of knowledge—the author's fantasmatic body—through the signifiers of ...