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  • 1 Institute for Literary Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences Ménesi út 11-13, H-1118 Budapest, Hungary
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The paper approaches to Mikszáth's novel as a dialogic structure, a kind of double plot novel. The plots of the first and second chapter with different setting and personage meet in the third chapter and start coalescing. But these different plots represent two different worlds where also the workings of time is different and the human activity has different dynamics. The paper discusses in some detail the possibility of the analysis of time in fiction, since the scholarly discourse on the topic seems to deny the possibility that time can work in different ways in fictional worlds and describes the specialities of fictional time as anomalies of narration. The encounter of the worlds in Mikszáth's novel is represented as a fight with no real winner, which can be regarded as a sort of dialogue.

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  • On this topic I published a paper in this journal some years ago (Hajdu 2000).

  • "In our course through life we shall meet the people who are coming to meet us, from many strange places and by many strange roads, (…) and what it is set to us to do to them, and what it is set to them to do to us, will all be done. (…) Your pretty daughter (…) starts to think of such things. Yet, (…) you may be sure that there are men and women already on their road, who have their business to do with you, and who will do it. Of a certainty they will do it. They may be coming hundreds, thousands, of miles over the sea there; they may be close at hand now; they may be coming, for anything you know or anything you can do to prevent it, from the vilest sweepings of this very town" Miss Wade says (12). "Strange, if the little sick-room fire were in effect a beacon fire, summoning some one, and that the most unlikely some one in the world, to the spot that must be come to. Strange, if the little sick-room light were in effect a watch-light, burning in that place every night until an appointed event should be watched out! Which of the vast multitude of travellers, under the sun and the stars, climbing the dusty hills and toiling along the weary plains, journeying by land and journeying by sea, coming and going so strangely, to meet and to act and react on one a another; which of the host may, with no suspicion of the journey's end, be traveling surely hither? Time shall show us" the narrator says (115).

  • For Šklovskij Little Dorrit was an exemplary case of mystery novel.

  • This feature was also described and (as the whole composition I am discussing) condemned by Riedl (95): "the narrative suddenly stops and we are in Zsolna, listening to the story of a young girl, Apollónia. Then Mikszáth connects the two plots with a not at all probable incident." But he raised the same objection against the story of the umbrella; since György Wibra encounters Veronka not even because of the umbrella, but because of a lost ear-ring (Riedl 83). The quest for the umbrella as the motivation for the hero and for the narrator following the hero to go from one world to the other does not imply any necessity in terms of the narrated - only in terms of the narration. What connects the two worlds is a completely accidental object, an umbrella, or rather the rambles of the insane Jónas Müncz. Can we imagine a more accidental connection than one created by the rambles of a lunatic?

  • For the possible connection of Foucault's theory and the interpretation of Mikszáth's novel see Eisemann 76.

  • Nietzsche could have given the name to a concept of eternal, unchanging recurrence as well.

  • For the application of his theoretical insight into the societal nature of time conceptions to the reading of literary texts see Bezeczky 1998/99 180-190.

  • The half Latin, half Hungarian phrase is a quotation from the Latin Gesta Hungarorum 16; the quotation attaches Pongrácz's martial victory to the Hungarian conquest of Hungary, and highlights the fact that Pongrácz's world, or at least the narrative of it is structured by history or by the narratives of historiography.