BODY IDENTITY IN BOHUMIL HRABAL’S NOVEL “I SERVED THE KING OF ENGLAND”
Ключові слова:Key words, body identity, aesthetic categories, canon, binary oppositions, Rabelaisian traditions, poetics of grotesque
The purpose of the paper is to examine the specificity of the modeling of the character-narrator’s
body identity in B. Hrabal’s novel “I Served the King of England”. Firstly it stresses on the body-centered
nature of the narration in this literary work, in which the evolution of personality is represented
as “a history of the body”. The study focuses on the techniques of restructurizing “the body scheme”
and the manifestation of psychophysiological transgression caused by the existing “archetypal
canons”. It traces the correlation of the semantics of the body identity with the aesthetic categories
of the beautiful and the ugly and with gender differentiation. The paper also considers gastronomy
as one of the aspects of bodiliness in B. Hrabal’s novel. It details the poetics of grotesque which manifests
itself in the descriptions of the body emphasizing its objectiveness. The study looks at the Rabelaisian
traditions followed by the writer in the depiction of the scenes connected with eating both everyday
food and exotic dishes. The research underlines that the body in B. Hrabal’s novel is displayed
as a genetic data medium, visualized through physical characteristics, that highlights the social
arrangement of the body identity problems. It pays attention to the social function of a human
face in archaic societies originally interpreted in the novel. The research determines the peculiarities
of the space marking of the body in the literary work and its correlation with the binary opposition
“top–bottom”. It looks at the formation of the body identity by means of a mirror reflection and
the image of the double. The conclusions of the research emphasize the specificity of the modeling
of the body identity in the novel of the Czech writer. The results of this scientific paper can be used
in further research on B. Hrabal literary prose and in comparative studies examining typological
parallels in visualizing bodliliness in his works and those of Yu. Vynnychuk.
Bakhtin, M. (1986). Tvorchestvo Fransua Rable i narodnaia kultura srednevekovia i Renessansa. Vvedenie (postanovka problemy). Literaturno-kriticheskie stati. Moskva: Khudozhestvennaya literatura, 291–352 (in Russian).
Goff, Zh. & Nriuon, N. (2008). Istoriia tela v Srednie veka. Moskva: Tekst (in Russian).
Hrabal, B. (2013). Ya obsluhovuvav anhliiskoho korolia. Kyiv: A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA (in Ukrainian).
Palii, О. (2014). Tema kryzy movy v cheskii prozi 60-kh rokiv ХХ stolittia. Literaturoznavchi studii, 42 (2), 180–187 (in Ukrainian).
Palii, О. (2014). Ironichnyi dyskurs romanu Bohumila Hrabala “Ya obsluhovuvav anhliiskoho korolia». Komparatyvni doslidzhennia slovianskykh mov i literatur, 46, 188–200 (in Ukrainian).
Podoroga, V. (1995). Fenomenologiia tela. Vvedenie v filosofskuiu antropologiiu. Moskva: Ad Marginem (in Russian).
Riker, P. (2000). Sam yak inshyi. Kyiv: Dukh i litera (in Ukrainian).
Fedets, Yu. (2005). Proza Bohumila Hrabala v konteksti “prazkoi ironii” (an extended abstract to a Candidate’s thesis). Kyiv.