• Henning Farup
4. semester, Dansk, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
English summary Based on the assumption that it makes sense to talk about ’the essence’ of a literary work, I present an analytical approach which claims that works of literature can be read and under-stood as interpretations of the fictional universe they present. By means of the Scottish phi-losopher Gregory Currie’s distinction between text and work and his theory of fiction as pre-sented in his book The Nature of Fiction (1990) I explain this approach theoretically. I show how the works own interpretation of the fictional universe can be described as the belief set of the fictional author, which again can be determined as the paradigm of propositions that are true in the story. Since it follows that the interpretation of this belief set is always relational to an overall interpretation of the work as a whole, the most important consequence of these theoretical considerations is that my analytical method turns the normal order of literary analysis upside down: Instead of going from analytical observations to interpretation, I (more or less) begin with an overall interpretation which I then support by emphasizing salient ele-ment in the work. I employ this approach in the analysis of two of the central novels in the Danish author Hen-rik Stangerups production. In relation to the short (and at the time of its publication in 1973 very controversial) novel The Man Who Wanted to Be Guilty from the early part of his writ-ings, I demonstrate that this novel is a story of the dehumanizing consequences of a govern-mental system that aims to abolish concepts such as guilt, responsibility and punishment. It shows that these seemingly attractive and harmless intentions can only be carried out by ob-taining total control of the public – a control that only those in power can avoid. The novel furthermore reveals that recreation – or even elimination – of both the individual and reality is inevitable when constructing such a society. From the later part of Stangerups production I analyse his in my view best novel, The road to Lagoa Santa from 1981, which is a (fictionalised) biographical story about the life of the historical Danish zoologist and palaeontologist Peter Wilhelm Lund (1801-1880), who lived most of his life in the Brazilian village Lagoa Santa. I argue that this work in essence is an existential story of a mans transformation from a rationalistic creature trying to explain life itself by means of scientific systems to a man who reconciles with life and settles with the demands of the given and concrete reality. I conclude that the most significant strength of the suggested analytical approach is that it brings forward the essence and meaning in works of literature and thereby insures that this aspect is not understated or even neglected in the analytical treatment of fictions.
Antal sider80
Udgivende institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 14000344