Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Cai, Y. Borges and Ge Fei: Transfiguring the poetics of atemporal labyrinth
(2019) Neohelicon, 46 (1), pp. 303-329.

DOI: 10.1007/s11059-019-00480-7

This article examines, from a comparative perspective, how Jorge Louis Borges configures his archetypal textual labyrinth in “The Garden of Forking Paths” and to what extent the Chinese avant-gardist Ge Fei is inspired to absorb, concoct and transfigure Borges’ aesthetics of maze into his own labyrinth poetics of fiction through a representation of lacunae, negation, repetition, memories, and particularly time and space. In this essay, Ge Fei’s fiction “The Mystified Boat” is analyzed under the notions of Bakhtin’s “chronotope” and Foucault’s “heterotopia” and discussed in depth in close relation to Borges’ metafictional story in the convoluted reconfiguration of narrative maze in a web of distorted historical times and spaces. Instilling Borgesian fictional inspiration into his own work of art, Ge Fei is adept at utilizing labyrinths and omissions to metaphorically project the world and the mind as mazes through the nonlinear concept of chronology and the deconstruction of habitualization. With the theoretical frame of reference for his fiction, it is revealed that Ge Fei aptly converts Borges’ labyrinthine inspirations and influences into his own poetics of atemporal labyrinth to metaphorically represent in his stories the chaos of the universe and the mystery of the mind, fabricates the disorienting spatial–temporal realms that dissolve the nexus between fiction and reality, and reconfigures the diverse mechanisms of atemporal labyrinths between the inner and outer worlds. © 2019, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.

Author Keywords
Atemporal labyrinth; Borges; Ge Fei; Geolocation; Metafiction; Repetition; Riddled lacunae; Time and space

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