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Article

Дискурс правды: Новая журналистика и роман

Новый филологический вестник. 2020. Т. 52. № 1. С. 250-264.
Харитонов Д. В.

The aim of this paper is to analyze a peculiar case of interaction between nonfiction and fiction. The analysis’ starting point is a famous introduction by an American writer Tom Wolfe to The New Journalism anthology (1973) where he praises realism, which he finds capable of uniquely — physiologically — affecting the reader, and claims that New Journalism brought realism back to American letters, repeating an important episode of the history of literature: the coming of the realistic novel to the 18th century England. These statements have not yet received the critical attention they obviously deserve.

As was shown by researchers (M. Dickstein, J. Hartsock, B. Shapiro), this novel emerged from imitation of antecedent nonfiction and was meant to affect the reader by its borrowed “truthfulness.” In this “truthfulness” one recognizes the paradoxical idea of “fictional truth,” inherent to the novel, which engaged the literary critic M. Riffaterre and philosopher G. Currie (among others). It becomes possible to assume that British “literature of fact” of the late XVII century provided patterns of truthful and verisimilar narrative while the realistic novel formed “the poetics of truth” that conveyed to the reader communicative aesthetic experience of encountering a narrative’s “reality.”   

          Studies in evolutionary biology, neurophysiology, and cognitivism corroborate this assumption and, accordingly, prove Tom Wolfe’s first statement to be correct. His second statement is half-right: what happened in the 1960s was not so much the return of realism to American literature as another emergence of a literary form from the tension between fiction and nonfiction. New Journalism imitated the novel as in the 18th century the novel imitated “literature of fact.”