On this sunny spring day, I am really enjoying reading Thomas Pavel, Fictional Worlds.
Some thoughts on Pavel
Great quote and intriguing definition of fiction:
Nelson Goodman once suggested that we should replace the question, “What is art?” by “When is art?” and offer a pragmatic answer. “Fiction is when world versions find secondary users.”
But that would not cover all cases. Seems to make the distinction between “nonreligious fictional activities, such as the ‘laughing stories’ of the Cherokees, animal stories, anecdotes, folktales and so on.”
He says that, “to derive these from older unused or degraded myths is not always easy. On the contrary, a considerable number of folktales that are based on nonmythical material may have originated in the observation of current social life. … independently of other discarded world models.
Says we should not define fiction in historical terms only as “the result of decayed myth,” and instead characterize it as “ontological landscaping and planning.” Taking the division of the ontological space into central and peripheral modes as a very general formal organization of the beliefs of a community, we may localize fiction as a peripheral region used for ludic and instructional purposes.
I love this paradigm for émigré literature!
ontological landscaping and planning!
Pauliska runs from country to country, through mountain passes and torrential rivers. Seems like a good way to try and figure out what that might mean. Why does she range over such a lot of land, from Poland to Hungary, Austria, and Italy, ending in Lausanne, Switzerland? (Well the end in Switzerland is not rocket science).
GOES ACROSS AND INTO THE EARTH
Delves into the earth (chez d’Olnitz, in the glacier, and the subterranean cell of the counterfeitors). A new direction to follow for the “French Revolution Effect” workshop at King’s College London in June 2015.
*Thomas G. Pavel, Fictional Worlds (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1986), 143.