Philology, pedagogy, and psychology

2021 Issue №4

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Spatial poetics of the story “Number 13” by M. R. James



The article is dedicated to the spatial organization of the novel by M. R. James “Number 13”, published in his first book of collected stories. A shift in the poetical paradigm is noted: the transition from traditional Gothic topoi to modern urban space. According to the Gothic view on the distant past and antiquity, certain architectural features are ascribed to the reinterpreted Gothic topoi. In he novel, space does not only function as an arrangement of the hero’s inner state, but also as a plot-forming component. There is a contraction of space, proportional to the presence of the supernatural in the canvas of the narrative. A particular attention is paid to oneirosphere space functioning (J. Faryno) as a place of unreal events localization. James’ story showcases the multi-sensory imaging experience through the additional possibilities of dance, voice, correlation of light and shadow, light and dark. The heterogeneity of the temporal organization contributes to the functioning of the space of the novel as oneiric. Special attention is paid to the border of the real and the unreal, its permeability and the means of artistic depiction of these processes. The duality of the chronotope corresponds to the principle of the liminality of space (room 13 in the hotel appears at night and disappears during the day). Thus, the diversity of spatiopoetics, the variability of oneiric spaces, the liminality of the Gothic toposes, the permeability and impenetrability of the borders of the surreal space stand out as the main means for modeling the text.