PARADOX IN LITERARY TEXT: SEMANTICS AND EVOLUTION OF THE CONCEPT

Yulia Gennadijivna KABINA

Abstract


Introduction. Nowadays the term "paradox" is commonly used to define a situation that can exist in reality but has no logical explanation. In every historical epoch paradox experienced numerous transformations: semantic and functional. This article investigates the evolution of interpretations of this concept in the course of time by prominent philosophers, logicians and philologists. Originality. The analysis of recent findings considering paradoxes in literary text reveals insufficient knowledge of the nature of this concept. In the literary text of the 20th century paradox functions not only as a literary device, but also as a logical and philosophical basis for modern and postmodern literature. This article summarizes the definitions of the term "paradox" and describes its semantic peculiarities. Purpose. Ambiguity of interpretations, indeterminacy of this phenomenon and frequent equivalence to absurd in postmodern drama arise the necessity to investigate the explanations of paradox in terms of logics, philosophy and philology to determine its boundaries. Results. The term "paradox" is generally defined as a thought, opinion which contradicts the common sense sometimes only at the first glance; illogical coincidence. The concept of paradox emerged during the antique times in genre of paradoxography to describe everyday incidents and scientific casus. Then this term was used as an equivalent to "miracle". The same association was found in ancient Greek texts, the Old Testament and other written texts connected with Christianity. During the Renaissance paradox functioned as a multivalent literary device capable of a deferral of commitment, maintaining thus the neutrality of the speaker who presented controversial points of view; engaging readers and audience into participation; highlighting the fracture of received opinion and ordinary logic. According to the early modern thought, paradox was passing to the extreme, a sort of "maximization". It was described as a hyperbolic movement by which the equivalence of the contraries was established by widespread use of antonyms and antithesis. German romanticists advocated the ambivalent nature of paradox: it demanded a solution and at the same time resisted it. They also interpreted paradox as a device of estrangement that enabled to present a "trivial" truth otherwise to reveal its nature form a new perspective. Postmodern scientists suggest that paradox affirms two senses simultaneously thus causing a recipient face a contradiction between the usual opinion and a new way to analyze reality. The nature of paradox is discovered through recognition of verity of both opinions. Conclusion. The investigation of semantic transformations of the term "paradox" gives an opportunity to examine this phenomenon from different aspects and reveal the nature of this concept. The usage of paradox in literary text brings it variety, complexity, allows the opposites to resonate and requires the participation of the recipient to be fully expressed and understood.


Keywords


paradox; doxa; paradoxography; aporia; sophism; logical paradox; hyperbole; estrangement effect; absurd; postmodernism

References


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