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Browsing Slavica Tergestina 23 (2019/II) by Author "Kovács, Gábor"
Metaphor is not a literary specificity. Metaphoric utterance (or meaning) is a common aspect of any usage of language. But the production of ambiguity reveals very special processes in literature. As (among many others) Roman Jakobson has emphasized ambiguity in verse language is created by “vocalic, grammatical, and semantic counterparts” (Jakobson: Yeats’ “Sorrow of Love” through the Years). Does literary narration and prose language also have specific and unique processes of producing ambiguity? Bakhtin has already elaborated an effective theory of the image in artistic prose on the basis of his well-known concept of polyphony, heteroglossia, and dialogism. In my essay I would like to propose another concept of ambiguity in narrative prose. In prose language narrative discourse and descriptive discourse always interweave. The first one usually refers to a person, the second one is about (material or immaterial) objects. Interweaving discourses attribute a story to the object. In artistic prose the story of the object becomes the narrative counterpart of the story of a person. And in the world of literary text such a narrative parallelism leads to a semantic parallelism – a very special type of ambiguity in prose language.