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A Bug in the Literary system: the Concept of ’Hypostasis’
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.
2009 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

I would like to introduce the concept of “hypostasis,” as a possible explanation how literary reality – and, ultimately, social reality – is created through its allegorical nature, through rhetorical figures like metaphors, etc.

Almost every literary theory runs into problems when it comes to making the leap from fiction to ”reality,” even though fiction seems to have a profound impact on our lives. One possible way to approach this problem has been proposed by the French cultural sociologist Pierre Bourdieu.

His concept of ”objectification” (objectivation) seems to offer a means to describe how successful writers actually create a social reality out of recognizable social phenomena.

But although this concept seems to be a promising approach to the question of the impact that fiction has on our lives, it only deals with it on a thematic level, not a stylistic one. And this despite the fact that the stylistic figures seem to constitute the essence of literature – its “literarity.”

When discussing literary style and language, fiction is not seldom defined as allegorical (metaphorical, etc.), and thus as something that distorts our everyday comprehension, makes us look at life anew, and creates new internal and interlingual relations. But while these analyses focus on figural language, they still seem to regard it as expressing a “secondary meaning,” while any possible reality is the “primary meaning.”

The concept of “hypostasis” points to the reality actually conceived through these rhetorical figures, through their primary or ordinary meaning on a non-allegorical level. Primarily in fiction – on a thematic level – but possibly through these themes also in a social reality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki, 2009. 221-229 p.
Keyword [en]
Hypostasis, Bourdieu, literary meaning
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-112029ISBN: 978-952-10-5448-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-112029DiVA: diva2:284402
Norlit 2007, Helsingfors (SF) 15-18.8 2007
Available from: 2010-01-06 Created: 2010-01-06 Last updated: 2010-12-06Bibliographically approved

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