Original Research

'Die man van Nizjni-Nowgorod': Leroux in embrio

M. J. Prins
Literator | Vol 8, No 2 | a863 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v8i2.863 | © 1987 M. J. Prins | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 May 1987 | Published: 07 May 1987

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M. J. Prins,, South Africa

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Abstract

The aims of this article are: (a) a “close reading” of Etienne Leroux’s short story “Die man van Nizjni-Nowgorod" and (b) testing Hennie Aucamp's statement that this story can serve as an “introduction” to Leroux, In doing the first the author of the article confirms the second. The story deals with the contrast between reality and illusion, truth and falsehood, the mask and the “true self”. In various ways the main character tries to transform and transcend an ugly and unacceptable reality. However, he himself and his strategies are periodically being exposed. The fact that it is not always possible for the reader as well as for the narrator to know whether Johnny really believes his own “salesman’s talk” contributes to the complexity and fascination of the discourse. In the way in which the actantial matrix is handled, the use of the (literary) reference and the passive role played by the main character the later Leroux is clearly discernible.

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