تازه های تحقیق
Kitsch is a key concept in Milan Kundera’s novels. Personages in his novels are in ever-lasting conflict with Kitsch dominancy. They sometimes are conquerors. In some moments they are objectified and submitted passively. The present paper is to study the concept of Kitsch in “the Unbearable Lightness of Being” novel. In line with this, it also explores the ontological similarities of Kitsch concept with Foucauldian’s dispersed power theory. In fact, one of the main objectives of this study is to argue that Foucault’ reading can act as an efficient way to comprehend Kundera’s novels. Besides the narrative style, there is a strong evidence of content commonality between Kundera’s and post-modern philosophers’ thought like Foucault Here, the main question is to find whether philosophical reading on Kundera’s novel is justifiable. Kundera clearly states philosophical associations in his novels. In his work, he always refers to Heidegger, Nietzsche and Husserl. He always alludes to the high impact of two schools of thought, namely surrealism and existentialism on many novels in the globe. In Milan Kundera’s reading, a novel is a “form of thought”. He goes beyond entertainment and story-telling facet of novel to take into account its various possibilities in its take to" being". As such, philosophy and novel illustrates a kind of ontology with various languages and perspectives. This approach in Kundera's work necessitates significance of linkage between philosophy and his novels. The title of novel "the Unbearable Lightness of Being" refers to its philosophical nature since philosophy of “curiosity on being” has been a philosophical subject since ancient Greek. In Kundera’s reading, there exists a kind of intertextual relationship between philosophy and Roman.
However, Kundera does not refer to Foucault’s thoughts explicitly. The present study is to show that this silence on behalf of Kundera is not representative of lack of communication between the two. Content analysis on Kundera’s novels proves such a relationship increasingly. Hence, it is not possible to understand Kundera’s novel without taking Foucault’s theories into account.
A) Findings of this paper show that concepts of Foucaudian’s Panopticonism/dispersed power and Kundera’s kitsch were contemporaneous with modernity emergence and the dominance of mass media. These concepts did not exist in pre-modern era. They are a universal rule of modernity, not an exception. As Kundera states, Kitsch is not applicable without its eye-catching metaphors. As such, it is not limited to rightists or leftists or communism/liberalism, going beyond common dichotomies in cold war era. Thus, it can be argued that there is high tendency between Foucault and Kundera towards a displaced power.
B) Findings show that similar to Foucault’s genealogy which is centered on historically scattered and accidently occurred events, Kundera's work is also framed in the aesthetics of the accident and emphasizes the relation between the accident and meaning." Accident is the only thing which can be interpreted as a message. What is expected to happen daily is something silent. Only accent has a voice." Creating beauty means transforming life into something unpredictable, means unveiling unknown aspects of being. Foucault also talks about accident in his historical approach where needed. Kundera draws its attention into accident in novels. Rather, Kitsch perceives certainty as something fundamental.
C) Findings show that from Foucault and Kundera’s views, dispersed power and Kitsch are to impose uniformity and narrate a linear narrative of reality. Thus, unique identities are read as ailing. In Foucaldian panopticon/ Kundera’s kitsch, public bodies are merely existing, the identities which accord the universal rule. Absolutism in universe, is panopticon/ kitsch utopia. In such a world,self-creation, are being refused in favour of social solidarity.
Finally, Foucault and also Kundera defend “the death of the author theory” since they believe that one of the consequences of dispersed power/kitsch in literary criticism can be “being author-oriented”. Hence, they draw their specific attention to political functions of the author-oriented criticism.
The results of this study show that the Kundera’s idea has been originated in thoughts of Foucault, a post-modern philosopher. Kundera is not merely influenced by post-modernism in the narrative form of the novel. Rather, he has a similar thought with them. In other words, this paper shows that how contemporary philosophy has been increasingly interwoven with novel world. Likewise, this study shows that Foucault and Kundera has a high tendency to “depoliticization of power” which can act productively not only in conflict among factions but in ontology and aesthetics of literary criticism. Moreover, they talk about “world of opposing possibilities” rather than making a utopia. In this world, politics has not been reduced into social managing or engineering and human beings always hope to emerging magnificent events.
- Foucault, Michel (1980) "The Eye of Power", in: Foucault, Power/Knowledge, ed. Colin Gordon, Pontheon Books.
- Foucault, Michel (2005) The Hermeneutics of the subject, ed. Feredric Gros, General editors: Francois Ewald and Alessandro Fontana, trans. Graham Burchel, Palgrave macmillan.
- White, Alan (1990) Within Nietzsche's Labyrinth, New York & London: Routledge.
- Bayley, John (2003) "Kundera and Kitsch", in: Milan Kundera, ed. and ab Introduction: Harold Bloom, Chelsea House Publishers.
- Elgrably, Jordan (1987) "Conversations with Milan Kundera", Salmagundi. No.73, pp.3-24.
عنوان مقاله [English]
The main issue in this paper is to find the relationship between the concepts of Foucauldian dispersed power and Kundera’s kitsch in The Unbearable Lightness of Being a novel authored by Milan Kundera. In other words, the main question here is how the concept of kitsch accompanies and interweaves dispersed power concept. One main objective in this comparative literary study, focusing a Foucauldian reading on The Unbearable Lightness of Being, is to argue that Kitsch phenomenon in Kundera’s literary work cannot be explained without going beyond power relations in traditional reading. This argument leads us to Foucauldian different reading on the concept of power relations. Foucault and Kundera bring about power without agency/subject: A Empire of the Gaze. In their readings, power/ Kitsch alludes to concepts going beyond communism/liberalism dichotomy. This study discusses decontextualized power versus centralized power, the aesthetics of the accident versus public aesthetics, a unique issue versus ontological similarity, author centeredness versus the death of the author. These dichotomies are the fruits of a paradigmatic shift on power concept in modern era. Therefore, this study can show the consequences of modern power in four aspects, namely politics, aesthetics, ontology and literature. This study, on one hand, has some ramifications on highlighting philosophical criticism in novel criticism, on the other hand, the linkage between post-modern school of thought and Kundera’s novels.