"Возвращение в Брайдсхед" Ивлина Во: нарративизация прошлого
The article considers the problems of memory and representation of the past in British literature on the example of E. Waugh’s novel “Brideshead revisited”. Narratological approach explains the focus on the mechanism of recollecting the past, the subjects of recollection and the temporal system. The narrator and characters are compared and contrasted in terms of their narrative presentation of the past. The past, present and future in the novel are demonstrated to be of relative, permeable nature. Several models of temporal relations are created.
Historical views are the most important factor in the development of the ethnic self-consciousness. They have an impact not only on the methods of representation of the past, but also on the perception of the modern world. African intellectuals played an important role in the formation of the collective historical memory of Africans and in the understanding of their own past. Literature (historical prose) had a big influence on this process. Their main mission African intellectuals saw in the restoring the historical justice and showing that African people of Southern Africa have not been deprived of greatness, that they were the creators of their history. However, their writings were full of fiction and biased assessments in the interpretation of historical events. The first African historians have been the authors of new historical myths, many of which are alive to the present time.
The Russian Formalists’ opposition between story (“a phenomenon relating to the material”) and plot (“a phenomenon of style”) presents the latter as the aspect of the work that not only organizes “the totality of events,” but also organizes them intentionally in order to increase readerly tension. The recombination of story events into a plot (with its interruptions, retardations, and decoys) makes possible the emancipation of the narrator and the reader, and even the author, from “what happened in actuality.” This division between “the material of life” and its “artistic deformation and decomposition” is the basis for the Formalist theory of narrative
Meaningful life is emotionally marked off. That’s the general point that Johansen (IPBS: Integrative Psychological & Behavioral Science 44, 2010) makes which is of great importance. Fictional abstractions use to make the point even more salient. As an example I’ve examined Borges’ famous fiction story. Along with the examples of Johansen it provides an informative case of exploring symbolic mechanisms which bind meaning with emotions. This particular mode of analysis draws forth poetry and literature in general to be treated as a “meaningful life laboratory”. Ways of explanation of emotional effect the art exercises on people, which had been disclosed within this laboratory, however, constitute a significant distinction in terms that I have designated as “referential” and “substantive”. The former appeals to something that has already been charged with emotional power, whereas the latter comes to effect by means of special symbolic mechanisms creating the emotional experience within the situation. Johansen, who tends to explain emotions exerted by the art without leaving the semiotic perspective, is drawn towards the “referential” type of explanation. Based upon discussions in theory of metaphor and Robert Witkin’s sociological theory of arts it is demonstrated an insufficient of “referential” explanation. To overcome a monopoly of “referential” explanation of emotional engagement, in particular, in literature, means to break away from the way of reasoning, stating endless references to “something else”, presupposing the existence of something already significant and therefore sharing its effects.
The article aims to produce an analysis, typology and understanding of the specifics brought about into the English XX-century novel by memory as a technology to narrate the past which has complicated the already existing system of narrative modes and formed a poetics of its own.
The research is based on eleven first-person retrospective English novels: The Good Soldier; Coming Up for Air; Brideshead Revisited; A Dance to the Music of Time; Free Fall; The Sea, the Sea; Waterland; Last Orders; The Remains of the Day; Experiment in Love; Love, etc.
Using historical-literary approach, comparative analysis and narratological methods, the article produces a typological description of such poetological categories as the narrator’s image, the chronotope, the narratee and the system of narrative modes (memory, document and tale).
Developing Bakhtin’s definition of the novel as a “genre of formation” we describe our novels as those of reformation. The narrator is placed in a liminal situation (death, existential crisis, loss of job or divorce) which urges him/her to restore the past. The narrator typically belongs to intellectual background (artist, writer, theatre director, school teacher) and is prone to self-reflection.
The temporal transfer into the past correlates with the physical movement, namely with the chronotope of the road. The past is restored as a result of a return trip (accidental in Waugh or conscious in Orwell and in “Last Orders”) or may unfold in the process of prospective journey as in Ishiguro.
In Waugh and Powell memory is autocommunicative: the narrators restore the past inside their minds, without addressing anyone. Here the implied reader steps to the forefront: by noticing repetitions, omissions and contradictions it makes the narrated world one whole. This reader is not limited to a private story but, through a system of cultural, historical and literary allusions, also shares the cultural past with the characters of Powell and Swift.
Memory also enters symbiotic relations with oral and written modes which makes the novels more dialogic. Via written mode in Murdoch and Golding the novel attempts to bridge the gap between fiction and reality and obtain the status of a real object (the book, the text) through the narrator’s metaliterary commentary and reflection. In the second case (Orwell, Mantel and Barnes) memory is verbalized as a system of voices that address each other and/or the reader. The reader, thus, is involved into the fictional world as a participant.
Ford, Swift and Ishiguro equivocally merge all three modes which, respectively, reflects Dowell’s attempt to escape self-judgement, correlates with the message on the universal connection between times, people and events, is a perfect technique to portray an unreliable narrator. Overall the permeability of modes exemplifies the XX-century tendency to relativize ontological, temporal and narrative borders.