Language games of literature

Ondrej Beran


Language games are defined by implicit rules that can be made explicit. Literature
seems not to have definite rules. Even so it has its default context and default
forms. The problem about literature is its systematically subversive behavior with
respect to its explicit rules, and that it cannot be understood straightforwardly as
“coping with”. From those reasons there is a large plurality of literary language
games, that goes paradoxically still more complicated and diversified by the
describing activity of the theory of literature. The paper tries to show that
literature surely consists of language games, but of a strange kind: they are
“second-order” games permeating through non-literary games (they cannot be definitely
distinguished from the latter); and their rules are genuinely implicit – by making
them explicit the concept “literature” becomes only more confused.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; literature; language game; rule; subversivity; practice

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