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Stereotypes and Representation in Fiction Author(s): Ruth Amossy and Therese Heidingsfeld Reviewed work(s): Source: Poetics Today, Vol. 5, No. 4, Representation In Modern Fiction (1984), pp. 689-700 Published by: Duke University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1772256 . Accessed: 22/02/2012 12:06
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and the irritation caused by the stereotype. Its preconstructed forms provide representation with foundations." In every attempt to seize hold of a reality which is by definition diversified and complex. as we know. from the prefabricated mold which he denounces as excessive codification and mere distortion of reality. flagrantly contradicts public opinion." and to scenes described as "natural. The persistent dichotomy between the "real" and the "conventional" is nevertheless. the stereotype is necessarily linked with representation. Tel Aviv As a cultural model through which we perceive.that is to say. to the "living character. If it is true. Poetics Today. Between the calm comfort of realistic illusion. This point of view. in this sense it would be the opposite and the negation of representation. 5:4 (1984) 689-700 . and describe reality. that all vision is conditioned by preexisting schemas." to the "faithful depiction of feelings. as Gombrich (1960) has shown for the plastic arts. Vol. it is just as obvious that the literary text relies heavily on accredited models. the stereotype would act as a screen and therefore as an obstacle. there is only a very relative distance: that which separates the naturalized model where the reader confuses the stereotyped forms with reality as he sees it. it is. largely illusory in art. they guarantee its possibility and legibility at the same time.STEREOTYPES AND REPRESENTATION IN FICTION* RUTH AMOSSY French. which opposes the stereotype to the accurate reproduction of reality . however. but global cultural * Translated by Therese Heidingsfeld. The stereotype does indeed testify to the omnipresence of models which are not simply changeable literary conventions. The Russian Formalists' concept of "automatization" was designed to account for this process wherein convention stiffens and congeals. interpret. important to go beyond the original notion of automatization. To really understand the stereotype in its constitutive relations with representation in fiction. without any doubt.
noted that in "Fleming's novel. As certain contemporary semioticians of culture have shown. in a particularly rigorous and suggestive way. It goes without saying that this conception of the stereotype places it from the start beyond or short of . The aim of the present study is to examine the manner in which the stereotype clarifies from its particular vantage the field of representation. of a certain general phenomenon. such as the development of the "woman-flower" idea. it exacerbates and distorts the general rule. the design assembles the same chain of 1. The old miserly Jew. Not only are its contents changeable. From this perspective the stereotype can be defined as a recurrent pattern.all effort at precise. for example whenever "amour" rhymes with "toujours. similar elements maintain a stable relationship from one case to another. A stereotype actually occurs wherever a cultural model allows itself to become recurrent and frozen. Through exaggeration. Its dimensions are malleable to the nth degree. It displays itself in the margin of excess where forms become fixed and hardened. it is as readily discerned at the level of a brief syntagm.690 RUTH AMOSSY forms1 in direct contact with the beliefs (Grivel 1978. let us make one thing clear. It is necessarily reliant on an aesthetics of reception. It thus underlines the centrality of the reading activity. to the extent to which it is based on the activation of determined cultural models. such as Isaac of York in Ivanhoe. the stereotype stands at the junction of text and reading. Thus Umberto Eco. as well as of cultural mediations. a prefabricated structure of any kind whatsoever. We are dealing with the capacity of a certain cultural model to repeat itself while being frozen. In a simple form. It appears as readily on the thematic level." as it is at the level of a character from a novel." Finally it shows itself as a global structure underlying the actantial distribution of the narrative or the linking of the series of events. formal. 1980-1981. as it does on the formal level. a landmark to be catalogued once and for all. This shows at the same time the variability and the great relativity of the phenomenon. The stereotype is not a familiar image. in the elaboration of representation in fiction. . 1981) of a certain society.these are all simply particular concrete forms. the stereotype represents a hyperbolic figure of that model. the fair young maiden. however. and accidental ones at that. in a well-known study of James Bond. Moreover. meanwhile defining its own nature and functions within that field. and unified description. I Right from the outset. More than just a cultural model. but the units and even the relationships which constitute them are essentially variable. the opposition between valiant Anglo-Saxons and evil communists . such as "an old miserly Jew.
and details. or as "integration of one or more obligatory predicate definitions within a theme" (p. We perceive here the fundamental enigma of the stereotype. is paradoxical. which goes beyond discursive unity and imposes itself in the most diverse forms. the same combination is stubbornly imposed: Fleming's novel appears stereotyped at the level of its skeleton. perceived as a stereotype in the vivid evidence of reading. Cliches and stereotypes are thus both inscribed. This is not at all the case with the stereotype. a mental construction obtained by the elimination of the specific qualities of each occurrence and the 2. The fixed associations which they constitute can remain implicit in the language. in the global field of stereotypicality. It is still. is a discursive.2 The representation of the Jew as an old miser appears as a cultural model in the most disparate novelistic plots. Confrontation with the cliche. however. Consequently it is the mechanism of this evidence which ought to be unveiled.' But stereotypes are not reducible to a collection of phraseological units. Therefore it is introduced into the texts as an anonymous quotation (AmossyRosen 1982). dichotomous distribution of "good guys" and "bad guys" advertises the stereotypicality even of fiction that exploits the most fertile resources of the imagination. the fixed figures of style. among other ready-made expressions. and as such tolerates neither substitution nor transformation. underlines the singularity of the stereotype taken in the broadest sense of the term. it can emerge at the exact place where the narrative eludes the trap of literal and narrative repetition and endeavor to erase any visible trace of verbal cliche. but it even bases itself on a paradoxical phenomenon of recurrence.STEREOTYPES AND REPRESENTATION 691 events and the same secondary characters" (Eco 1966:90)." which is a lexically full figure felt to be banal." This description tries to expand the scope of the stereotype as discussed in "Problematiques du cliche" (Herschberg-Pierrot 1980) as a cliche. and indeed need not be verbalized. precise definition. understood as a particular form of 'preconstruction. Free and multiform. its deep structure. Throughout the proliferation of details and the exuberant technical invention. each in its own way. Anne Herschberg-Pierrot sees in cliches "a rhetorical sub-category of stereotypes. 336). The trite expression "as miserly as a Jew. frozen unity (Riffaterre 1971). constitutes an abstraction. or even for the roman a these. decors. This is also the case with a certain type of serialized novel. which embrace. it welcomes all formulations and variants and puts up with totally dissimilar stylistic registers. in which the rigid. as suggested by a recent title by Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan (1980). by the way. it is the status of the repetition itself which. . Delineated at various levels of the text. according to the fundamental definition by Genette. Actually. Repetition. How do we explain that the same model occurs repeatedly in texts where all the terms can be different? Why is the repetition striking when nothing is reiterated either on the literal level or in the fictional composition? Not only does the stereotype not correspond to any formal.
the beard "that had a trick of twitching its long white bristles" and the "menacing pointed chin" reinforce the isotopism of the active. to which they indicate need and are the sign. a menacing pointed chin." they integrate without difficulty into a unity which gravitates around the notion of avarice. that is to say aggressive. To the extent. erases all trace of diversity. A Jew surrounded by his millions will always be one of the finest spectacles which humanity can give. it depends on a mental operation which gives preference to identity and. The traditional image of the Jew emerges from Balzac's description through a double operation: deconstruction. The text is actually refashioned according to the imperatives of a familiar model. a silk waistcoat.Also note that "wrinkled.a little old man. his "bony and emaciated" hands which remind us of the crooked fingers of caricatures . dressed in a shabby overcoat. Following. All those elements which reinforce the implicit central motif of avarice are selected and taken into account. however.3 and a nose like an obelisk . a beard that had a trick of twitching its long white bristles. Here is the portrait of Elie Magus. unless otherwise indicated." or the "toothless mouth" remain. A "nose like an obelisk" completes the picture of the old Jew. Such details as the "bald head. Following excerpts are from Marriage. with a bald head. the stereotype is a construction of the mind.692 RUTH AMOSSY preservation of only those present in similar occurrences. callous skin" should be read as "wrinkled. elision and rearticulation. . It is thus indissociable from the difference which pervades it. callous skin." the "face full of deep hollows. The "eyes bright" as those of Magus's always greedy dogs. renewed twice in a score of years. a toothless mouth. eyes bright as the eyes of his dogs in the yard. cold skin" (la peau rugeuse et froide). The "bony and emaciated hands" (les mains osseuses et decharnees) have been omitted in this translation by Ellen Marriage. and a very dirty pair of trousers. in which it participates. Thus we find the poverty and dirtiness of the suit: to the "shabby overcoat" is added the waistcoat "renewed twice in a score of years" and the "very dirty" pair of trousers. a face full of deep hollows.these testify to an insatiable cupidity. exterior to the narrative and recorded in a more or less distinct fashion by the reader's cultural 3. Like repetition. cupidity. not only of old age but also of a bizarre "economy. and reconstruction leading the text towards a preconceived model. a wrinkled. The analysis of a particular example permits us to illustrate this process of elimination and preservation. Similarly.there he stood in his gallery smiling at the beauty called into being by genius. It is imposed by a reading activity which divides and reassembles texts in such a way that they flow together into fixed molds. in Cousin Pons: And Magus himself was a living picture among the motionless figures on the wall . Here we see the reading strategy which alone permits the imposition of the stereotype. consequently.
eagle-beaked . it confers on them the stature of details destined to particularize. as well. though the context easily permits us to see a miser's hands. to individualize a familiar figure." For the reader forming the stereotype. in the working class). but it easily fits an old man and. This is also the case with "bony and emaciated hands. It is based. All nuances which are not immediately relevant are rubbed out.or who is . This conception of reading approaches what Stierle (1979) calls "quasi-pragmatic reading. the stereotype therefore limits the reading activity to the recognition of a repetitious structure. however. By definition. these remnants are hardly a problem. In doing this. for instance. and erases. bent. there are noses which are aquiline. The reading necessitates initial patterns.STEREOTYPES AND REPRESENTATION 693 memory. Take the "nose like an obelisk": according to the dictionary." an old man's hands. curved. the construction of the model obeys to a greater extent the reader's automatisms than the more or less complex networks of writing. The "silk waistcoat" is singled out as a superfluous detail. The portrait of the avaricious Jew is otherwise corroborated by clothing which confirms his place in the merchant class (and not. unless the connotations of length and Orientality which belong to the obelisk permit us to falsely recognize a Jewish nose. it trims. Any decoding implies without doubt a reading construction which undoes and reassembles the text. but it is impossible to know at which one or ones it will terminate. Reading projects in a false quest what it pretends to seek. on a game of affinities and differences instigated by the narrative itself.the 4. Nothing imposes a "toothless mouth" on the avaricious Jew. either by discerning in them a pure effect of reality or by making all the resorts of realistic motivation work for them. It neutralizes the remnants without difficulty. someone who in his anxiety to economize neglects his clothes and also his body. Everything that perversely disturbs this harmony of fixed traits reunited in a stable pattern is relegated to the level of "remnants. the very uselessness of which guarantees the authenticity of the picture.4 We could therefore say that it is the reader and not Elie Magus who carries . Reading picks out all the constituents of the description which correspond to the preexisting pattern.but not obelisk-like. The stereotype is potentially lodged in the mind of the reader before being actualized in the text by an act of centralization and reduction. The picture of avarice accommodates the mention of both a distinguished piece of clothing and the maximal wear and tear on it. prunes. Reading thus recuperates the maximum number of variants and differences while working to reduce them to the Same and the Known. in the case of the stereotype. Whenever reading does not purely and simply skip them. All variants are reduced and reintegrated willy-nilly into the initial isotopism." .
what distance actually separates the description of Elie Magus in Cousin Pons that we have just decoded from the following text: Dressed in worn and filthy clothes.694 RUTH AMOSSY stereotype. The advantage of stereotypic reduction is well-known.. Evidently arising from beliefs which circulate in a certain society. to the commonplace or doxic statement. an old Jew with an aquiline nose and crooked fingerscontemplatedhis richeswith eyes that shone with greed. buy another book. which "multiplies" the text "in its variety and its plurality. Flaubert. For in a sense. the stereotype fixes in a stable and suggestive image whatever is thought and said there. A protagonist of Balzac. and which is tolerated only in certain marginalcategoriesof readers (children. whatever manages to state itself explicitly.. This is only indirectly expressed in the ironic commentary inserted by the narrator: "A Jew surrounded by his millions will always be one of the finest spectacles which humanity can give. We know only too well that any text can become the object of stereotyped reading. as has been amply demonstrated. Meaning which. Here one finds the relation of the stereotype. for it alone savesthe text from repetition (those who fail to reread are obliged to read the same story everywhere). is (need I say it?) of my own invention. and professors). This is because the cultural model underlying it bases itself on a commonplace idea which is clearly formulable or formulated. The opposite of rereading." It could be reformulated in terms of a general affirmation stipulating that "all Jews are avaricious and eager for gain. is derived from a diffuse global Knowledge: that of the doxa or public opinion. which would have us "throw away" the story once it has been consumed ("devoured"). or Alexander Dumas could be seen as cast in the same mold. and whatever disseminates itself insidiously in the deceptive form of the obvious. offers a stereotyped image of the Jew which corresponds to a commonplace idea.multipliesit in its varietyand its plurality. an operation contrary to the commercial and ideological habits of . Stereotyped reading Reading. Eugene Sue. conceived in terms of the stereotyped reading of Balzac's text. any stereotype can be summarized as a generalization or general truth taken from public opinion. Balzac's text." In principal. This passage. the stereotypic reduction or the modulation of differences is a question of reading or. of rereading: our society. as Barthes (1970:23) says. which brings it back into the same old rut. as conformist representation. as well as the caricatural reduction presented above.so that we can then move on to anotherstory. old people." it comfortably restrains the polysemy.rereadingis here suggestedat the outset. After all. The proliferation of meanings deriving from diverse and complex connections in the novel is replaced by stable relationships which constitute a model invested with Meaning.
complicates. The example is. As for those elements which evade the law of repetition. In the revised and corrected portrait of the old Jew which I have outlined. To look closely at this question is to ask ourselves about the "left-overs. which questions acutely the status of the "left-overs. The reading activity which articulates a pattern through. where everything has the reassuring form of deja-vu. they can. This is on condition that they be neither completely heterogeneous nor visibly contradictory. realistic motivation. or simply ignores the preconceived model of the Jew? In other words. et cetera. Let us imagine for a moment our old Jew blessed with a pair of big blue eyes. better still. a reading construction which surpasses. somewhat artificial. then. Such resistance to attempts at integration and reduction shows that the "recalcitrant" elements violate the three golden rules of stereotyping: the poverty of its constituents. rereading is a process of seeing whether the stereotype is produced by the decoding or by the text." those elements not "pigeonholed" by the reader when he initially formed . or. Is another dissection possible or.or recognized . We have nothing more to learn. no doubt. II We can ask ourselves in this context what a rereading of Balzac's text would involve. implies the resuppression or recuperation of all elements not immediately relevant to the basic model. so to speak. a complex textual expansion can offer an adequate and organized grasp of the essential. we must simply recognize the Same in novelty and difference: the eternal Jew under the particular features of Elie Magus. Rereading. Their resistance to recuperation is the best measure of the text's own resistance. redundancy. the brevity of description and the extreme poverty of detail permit an immediate recognition of the basic model. and in spite of. thanks to its own potentialities.STEREOTYPES AND REPRESENTATION 695 allows us to stay on this familiar terrain. Redundancy maintains the simplicity of the prefabricated pattern by reducing all the forms of diversity to the Same. and reinforce a unique global Signified. the effect of reality. Such is the case of Balzac's text. but it also risks being a Procrustean bed.the stereotype. even necessary? Does writing in the novel provoke. So it is necessary for them to be brought under the same umbrella." . indeed. in the tradition of the novel we more frequently find that details multiply and diversify in order to fill out the plot. as we have seen. Any flagrant deviation upsets the initial pattern in producing unexpected connections which confuse or cover up the fixed relationships of the basic model. and homogeneity. Elie Magus showing a face which exudes honesty. be recuperated through various procedures such as individualization. dressed as a farmer with clogs.
callous skin." "wrinkled. and more particularly with that of the Parisian monomaniac." The reader who is called upon to unite the traditional image of the Jew with that of the collector." the "menacing pointed chin. as millionaires who live in poverty and who "are capable of treading the miry ways that lead to the police-court if so they may gain possession of a cup. strange beings with a strange religion in their heart of hearts. the Parisian monomaniac lives cheerfully in concubinage with his crotchet to the last." "face full of deep hollows. Magus's indulgence in lewd voyeurism explains "eyes bright as the eyes of his dogs. For it cannot be integrally reduced to the stereotype of the greedy Jew. a combination which no longer corresponds to the models he started out with. suggests a libidinal connection which in a way evokes a well-known "painting": that of Susanna and the three Elders. a picture. or Life and Death. it equally calls for a deciphering that takes into account the unstable and complex networks of the text. brings weariness and satiety in the end. More and more. Balzac's writing brings forth a series of textual connections allowing a totally different decoding." at which he smiles. as is underlined by all the indications of decay and need: "bald head." "bony and emaciated hands. The London "eccentric" always finds that worship. Therefore it is a rule-governed interaction of text and . with the help of sundry elements in the text. starting with its hero Pons. must produce. We can also observe that a supplementary axis of decoding is furnished by the contrast offered between the "living picture" of Elie Magus surrounded by his treasures and the "motionless figures" such as the "beauty called into being by genius": the process of opposition and inversion establishes a complex relationship between reality and Art. Therein lies one of the essential characteristics of the collector." An unusual libidinal investment is thus diverted to the exclusive profit of the work of art." Desire is indissociable from physical decrepitude. like life. Balzac then proceeds to describe the "Parisian tribe" as collectors." "toothless mouth. the portrait of Elie Magus produces a network of differences even when not juxtaposed with that of the fanatical collector.696 RUTH AMOSSY The rest of the portrait of Elie Magus does indeed muddle the stereotype in putting the character into a heterogeneous general category. Balzac's text surpasses the familiar model which it used as inspiration. Resisting stereotypic reduction. that of the Parisian "monomaniac": Paris of all the cities of the world holds most of such men as Magus. The confrontation of the "little old man" with the "beauty called into being by genius. or some such rare unpublished piece as Elie Magus once picked up one memorable day in Germany. as the entire novel endeavors to show." "a beard that had a trick of twitching its long white bristles. Even when it authorizes a reading centered on the prefabricated pattern.
but they are made to serve a worthy end. he was small. Eugene Sue's textual strategies pretend to combat the stereotypicality which. This is how. who demystifies the accredited representations of the Jew. Samuel. Moreover. Susan Suleiman (1980:129) sees in the redundancy of the actantial function and the qualities attributed to a character the very image of stereotypicality. however. which vehemently attacks all the anti-semitic stereotypes: Samuel was then eighty-two years old. constitutes their essential support.5 Behind an image which is only too familiar. stereotypicality still triumphs. Born of the familiar model." the alreadyknown and familiar models. than it does to Elie Magus. finesse and sagacity and his large high forehead proclaimed honesty and strength of mind (Translated by Therese Heidingsfeld).STEREOTYPES AND REPRESENTATION 697 reader which confers on the stereotype its scope and its limits. it nonetheless is content to disagree with it. In this manner. . the financial gifts of his race and the art of the hoarder persist.Samuel discharges an ancestral debt. it is useful to consult Wolfgang Iser's (1978) study. as Rodin had said to Father d'Aigrigny. although in the neighborhood. With this perspective in mind. he pretended to be senile. Wherever cultural mediations remain diffuse and underlie the representation 5. for example. Sue's description ostensibly leans on another prefabricated pattern namely that of the wise and virtuous old man who plays the role of assistant to the hero. the narrative which undertakes to shatter prejudices continues in the same old rut of reductive cultural patterns. the reader who is open to the promptings of the narrative uncovers new connections and meanings. as exemplified in the portrait of the old Jew. Paradoxically. From what point does it find itself not only reworked. the making of a fortune for the gentile hero . where he only rarely appeared anyhow. but even dissolved or pulverized? For the text to really discard it. Inversely. The covetous usurer becomes honest and generous. The serialized novel here manifestly refuses to fit into a preconceived mold. nervous and the involuntary petulance of his movements proved that the years had not diminished his energy nor his activity. far more of the stereotype adheres to Samuel. 6. we can ask ourselves where the stereotype begins and ends in literary representation. it can happen that he uncovers recurrent and frozen patterns in a description or a scene which apparently tries to circumvent them. For the modalities of text/reader interaction in relation to the "repertoire. His countenance was filled with intelligence. the stereotype must not recompose itself in an accredited image. This is to say that the text must shift the decoding from the start into an autonomous activity of connections to which no fixed model lends its support.6 A very strong redundancy ensures Samuel's possession of the Knowledge and Power necessary to act as wellmeaning Father. and despite his advanced age a forest of grey and frizzy hair covered his head. thin. When frozen models are only inverted.
wan face of his? I wish the Academie would give me leave to dub such faces the lunar type. peered out from under the sheltering peak of a shabby old cap.namely. but because the recognition of any stereotype is largely dependent on a relative factor . et cetera. Moreover. And we all know that the "eternal type" gathers the commendation and praise of the very people who despise the unworthy stereotype in the name of the "living character. to Reading which it lends a more or less sustained attention. His hair was iron-gray. with the gilt rubbed off. the Jew. a reading construction which must be incessantly particularized and readjusted. as if they feared the light. . Margins of incertitude necessarily exist. However. A pair of little eyes. In other words. Can you grasp a clear notion of that sallow. We can wonder how anyone coming from a far-away country where Judaism and anti-semitism are totally unknown would read the portrait of Elie Magus. Gobseck is depicted in terms of known models. and with scarce an eyelash to them. his features might have been cast in bronze. sleek. it can never find absolute guarantees. a usurer of Jewish ancestry. and a nose so sharp at the tip that it put you in mind of a gimlet. the text and the reader must activate the same cultural models. one cannot properly speak of a stereotype. yellow as a ferret's. From this point of view. In the multiplication of unforeseen and heterogeneous comparisons. Here there is a problem of reception with which translations and adaptations are continually confronted. such as the Miser. any fixed pattern is dissipated in favor of a complex image. Actually it is only the attitude of the reader towards the Knowledge which a frozen cultural model makes use of that differentiates the stereotype from what we usually call a type. especially since the type also emerges through a reading activity of building up a pattern or a model which can be summarized in some aphorism or doxic statement. He derives from the ferret and the gimlet." From the start we can ask where the difference lies. with the description of Elie Magus: The man in question was a usurer. Talleyrand himself was not more impassive than this moneylender. the stereotype is left to the discretion of the reader much more often than is generally believed. but also from Talleyrand and Rembrandt's alchemists and old men. not because of eventual weaknesses of the interpreter. He had the thin lips that you see in Rembrandt's or Metsu's portraits of alchemists and shrunken old men. we can compare the portrait of Gobseck. the reader's previous knowledge.698 RUTH AMOSSY without in any way forcing it into a ready-made mold. It is precisely this We process of abstraction which confers general value on the type. and carefully combed. It was like silver-gilt. III thus appears to be guided by the promptings of the text.
to surround his portrait with an entire pseudo-scientific machinery. would have been considered as handsome. was alike detested by the credulous and prejudiced vulgar. and with many a bow of deep humility. It points out a very relative truth.STEREOTYPES AND REPRESENTATION 699 can thus see that the divergence lies elsewhere. to say the least. during those dark ages. his high and wrinkled forehead. It derives from the fact that the relation of the type to Knowledge is considered a relationship with Truth and not an undue subordination to prejudice. deriving from a contestable. had adopted a national character. approached the lower end of the board. with an aquiline nose and piercing black eyes. The type presents itself as the dramatization of Knowledge. an absolute doxic armature derived from a supposedly objective insight into History. all of this is true if we stick . The notion of a type thus implies not only a general truth. owing to that very hatred and persecution. in the case of truth. actually. mean and unamiable. described throughout the narrative as miserly. had they not been the marks of a physiognomy peculiar to a race which. The portrait of Isaac of York will be considered a type or stereotype of a Jew depending on the degree of the reader's adhesion to the Knowledge invested therein. but also the reader's adhesion to the particular truth dramatized in the text. the mark of the type and not the contours of the stereotype: Introduced with little ceremony. It goes without saying that the text may exploit these shifting frontiers at will. a tall thin old man. but its evaluation as well. and persecuted by the greedy and rapacious nobility. The notion of the stereotype. and long grey hair and beard. world view. keen and regular. however. within the framework of the historical novel. doxa. but the gap between production and illustration is made relative by the fact that. and who. We are living in a period in which the stereotype has attracted bad publicity. it requires unveiling and can in this regard repeat itself without deterioration. Undoubtedly. Thus Walter Scott takes care. It is this relationship to Knowledge as Science and consequently as an area of truth which gives to the servile Jew. and advancing with fear and hesitation. In its essence preexisting all formulation. if not actually contested. left to the reader. The text is certainly asked to contribute to the creation of the pattern. It consolidates and disseminates Meaning. His features. and the dominant ideology. on the contrary. had lost by the habit of stooping much of his actual height. For us the stereotype is the point at which repetition becomes routinization. there can be no invention ex nihilo. the presentation of an absolute and eternal truth. presupposes the mechanical reiteration of a somewhat suspect Knowledge which in any case is not subject to critical examination or scientific verification. in which there was much. who. perhaps. One final word: it is not only the recognition of the stereotype which is. and complexity becomes the most outrageous schematization.
. Stierle. 119142. 1980." Podtique 30. The value of the stereotype depends on the role it plays in the strategies of text and reading: it cannot be fixed once and for all. 334-345. 1978." Poetique 43. Essais de stylistique structurale (Paris: Flammarion)." Poetics Today 1:4. Marriage.65-74. "Problematiques du Cliche. Let us avoid imprisoning the stereotype within the recurrent and frozen pattern of its own public image. "Reception et Fiction. Riffaterre. in a reworking of models and problematization of commonplace visions of the world. 1982.. Umberto. mean that it is always involved in reductive enterprises or that it is only used for purposes of schematization. Genette. the constitutive interaction of text and reader. but rather with recommending a functional approach to it. Karlheinz. What is important to examine are the functions attributable to the stereotype by virtue of its essential characteristics. is necessarily reductive. however. It sets. trans. 1980. Ellen. 1980-1981 "Esquisse d'une theorie des systemes doxiques. Wolfgang. Itamar." Communications 8. Ruth and Elisheva Rosen. or at least models. Michael. "Constraints of Realeme Insertability in Narrative. Anne. Gombrich. 1978. 25-50. 1972." Littdrature 30. 1974. 1979. "James Bond: une combinatoire narrative. E. Roland. We are not concerned here with proposing a defense and illustration of the stereotype. "The Paradoxical Status of Repetition. 77-93. 1981 "Savoir social et savoir litteraire. Les discours du cliche (Paris: SEDES-CDU). REFERENCES Amossy. Figures III (Paris: Seuil). Art and Illusion (Princeton: Princeton UP). d-d23." Poetics Today 1:3." Degres.700 RUTH AMOSSY to the level of basic definitions. H. 1960. This does not. as a recurrent and frozen pattern which can be summarized in a doxic statement culled from public opinion. The Act of Reading A Theory of Aesthetic Response (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP). S/Z .151-160. Eco. Charles. Susan. 1966. 72-86. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang). The Works of Honore de Balzac (New York: The University Society of Publishers). Suleiman. The stereotype. "Les universaux de texte. which alone would restore its genuine dimensions and impact. Iser. Even-Zohar. Barthes. "Redundancy and the 'Readable' Text." Poetics Today 1:4. It does indeed participate in the elaboration of the text as network. 1980. Shlomith. Rimmon-Kenan. Grivel. Gerard. 1980." Litterature 44. trans. 1971. Herschberg-Pierrot.