FICTION and POLYPHONY

JOHN LECHTE

Abstract


Before I come to explain what some of the consequences of fiction as polyphony are, let me say, by way of introduction, that our problem in a nutshell involves the symbolic and what we understand by this term. In particular, things in this regard could be said to turn around what is still, to my mind, a perennial problem in literary criticism, namely, an author's relationship to what he/she writes. Perhaps it is hardly necessary to repeat that, here, it is a question of life and death: the 'Death of the author' whose absence takes on a kind of 'presence' (= life) in the text - a 'resurrection accomplished in signs' , as Julia Kristeva has called it. (Kristeva, 1981;181) In a sense, therefore, those who used to maintain (and often still do- if only by implication) that a dash of psychology was sufficient to provide literary interpretation with illumination, may in fact have given us a clue as to how the literary critic might get onto the right track in this matter. For psychology, as our epigraph has it, 'is a knife that cuts both ways' (Dostoevsky, 1976;690); it oscillates between the notion of truth as referential and fiction (we will return to this point).


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