Plzeňské sympozia

Pavel Janoušek

After the disaster – the serialized pulp novel as a craft and an expression of internal dialogue. Morana or The World and its Nothingness

pp. 171–181 (Czech), Summary 180 (English), 181 (Deutsch)

The author analyses the prose work Morana čili Svět a jeho nicoty (Morana or The World and its Nothingness) which Karel Sabina published in 1874 under the pseudonym Arian Želinský, as an expression of his personal, philosophical and above all literary reaction to the ''national court'', which unmasked him as a police agent and turned him into an excommunicated ''traitor to the nation''. The objective here is to establish the manner in which Sabina reflected his private fall from grace in his literary testimony, working inter alia with the flood motif, which was inspired by the disastrous floods of May 1872, i.e. the way he reflected his internal discord in the external form of a conventional serialized pulp novel with an aristocratic setting, with mordant dialogue between various life truths. The author describes Sabina's novel with some licence as a spontaneous harbinger of the poetics that would subsequently acquire the epithet of ''postmodern'', characterized by a loss of faith in historical progress, contemporary civilization and religion, as well as an awareness of the plurality and syncretism of views and forms, which were turning into a subconscious quest for a new faith. In the novel Sabina projects himself as an author who clearly derives considerable personal satisfaction from the very act and process of writing, i.e. a space for pleasing self-expression, which has no need to strive for some original literary form. Quite the reverse, he consciously uses conventional narrative schemes and clichés in the hope that the more discerning reader will understand the hidden irony and sarcasm behind the literary and philosophical game that infuse the entire novel. 

 

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