Has your marriage survived a great lie?

Jochen Mecke

You have to believe in it

From the literature of lies to the lie of literature

The article discusses the relationship between literature and lying on the basis of a neutral definition of lying. The article argues that literature itself is primarily not capable of lying, because it uncovers its own fictional lies ’and presupposes a pact of fiction’ implying the suspension of disbelief. Focusing on the theory of unreliable and lying narrators, the article analyzes several types of lies with ’and‘ in ’literature, tackling the question of the existence of specific literary lies. Thus, examination of the homodiegetic narrator of the novel Lazarillo de Tormes points to the possibility of a literary lie, whereas the case of a lying heterodiegetic narrator suggests a modification of the general theory of lying through consideration of the aesthetic dimension of lies.

1. Do the poets lie? The possibility of literary lies

Any preoccupation with the complex relationship between literature and lies cannot avoid responding to the famous verdict that Plato bestowed on the poets. According to the Vulgate, Plato excluded poets from the state because they would spread lies, usually referring to the poets' ability to invent untrue stories, i.e. the ability to create fictions.1 However, if you take a closer look at the Platonic dialogue, this interpretation appears questionable. Even if it is undisputed that Plato wants to exclude the poets from the state and that he criticizes them because they are only replicas of shadows, there is no categorical condemnation of lies with him. On the contrary: Plato especially condemns the “lie of the soul”, which in today's diction corresponds to the error.2 Plato has to use this metaphor because ancient Greek does not know a lexical distinction between lie and error, but the concept of the pseudos used for both areas. And in Country - as is also the case in Scripture, which deals exclusively with lies and error, the Hippias Minor - Plato condemns above all that pseudos of the soul, that is, the error, during the pseudos the words seem less condemnable to him. in the Country Plato even gives politicians the express right to lie, because the lie is in the hands of the ruler pharmakon, a drug that he can and must use for reasons of state. For ordinary citizens, on the other hand, it is true that lying is forbidden (Plato 1988b, 91).

And with regard to the poets, too, Plato is far from a general condemnation of lies. He does not exclude the poets from the state because they invent stories, on the contrary: Plato describes the fictions of the poets as beneficial, even necessary, and explicitly allows them to create invented stories if these pursue the goal To shape the souls of young people in the sense of the state, "to form their souls far more emphatically through their fairy tales than their bodies through their hands" (Plato 1988b, 77). On the other hand, it is criticized that poets often tell stories that do not fulfill this function of literary lies. They cannot serve as role models for the youth because they let the gods appear in an unfavorable light or even relentlessly portray their weaknesses. If, for example, it is described how Chronos devours his own children or how Zeus, driven by an irrepressible sexual desire, takes the form of a mortal or a bull in order to kidnap a woman, this is done to shake the moral foundations of the state (Plato 1988b, 83-85). The examples show that Plato wants to exclude poets from the state for educational reasons rather than because he would condemn the creation of fictions or lies in and of themselves.

The look at the Country thus leads to a triple negative result. 1. Plato does not yet make a strict distinction between lies and error. 2. He does not categorically condemn the "lie of words". 3. He excludes poets from the state primarily because they paint an unflattering picture of the gods. Given that Plato made the moral assessment of the lie in the Hippias Minor leaves open that this im Country At least for the ruler it is even positive and that the poets are not expelled from the state because they tell fictional stories, but because they tell stories that are harmful to the state, the question arises why the exclusion of the poets from the state because of their lies becomes one of the to develop the most powerful topoi and to exert such an influence on both the production and reception of literature.3 Because if you take a closer look at the accusation of lies against literature from the perspective of a theory of lies, it must initially appear completely unfounded.

In attempting to sketch an adequate definition of the lie, it is necessary, however, to free oneself from the historical mortgage of its categorical condemnation, as justified by Augustine and from Western theology and philosophy from Thomas Aquinas to Immanuel Kant to the Catholic moral teaching of the present was represented.4 If the lie is freed from the ideological ballast of its categorical condemnation, the result is a morally neutral definition that could be called the lowest common denominator of all definitions of lies. It contains the following three:

  1. Every lie is based on a discrepancy between opinion / feeling and expression. When someone lies, they are saying something different from what they really think or feel.

  2. This discrepancy is hidden.

  3. It is used for further purposes that also remain hidden.5

Based on this definition, it follows that literature, or more precisely fictional literature in the narrow sense of the word, is in principle incapable of lying. The first criterion is met, because literary fictions are based on a discrepancy between opinion and expression, since the author and narrator pretend to believe in the reality of a story that they know did not actually take place. The second defining feature, however, does not apply to fictional texts, because this discrepancy is not covered up. This can be best understood with stories that reveal their own lying character in the title, such as the so-called “lies stories” beginning with Lukians The lying friend (2nd century AD) about Gottfried August Bürgers Wonderful journeys by sea and land - campaigns and funny adventures by Freiherr von Münchhausen (1786) to Martin Walsers Lies (1964) is the case. All of these texts deliver explicit lying signals. But even if such signals are missing, there can be no question of a literary lie, because the literary fiction pact and the corresponding fiction signals such as the introductory formula “Once upon a time ...” in fairy tales, generic names such as “poem” or “novel” or the Ramps in the theater signal to the recipient that these are lies. But lies that present themselves as such are no longer, they are canceled out.6 “So art deals with that Appearance as appearance“, Says Friedrich Nietzsche,“ so I just want to Not To deceive, is true. ”(Nietzsche 1869ff., 632f .; emphasis in the original blocked) The last part of the sentence is problematic, however, because a statement does not become true simply because it reveals its own lying character. “True” is a lie that reveals itself as such, only in relation to the disclosure of the lie, which, however, is withdrawn and annulled by its announcement in a performative self-contradiction. Literature is therefore a priori only in relation to the existence of its own fictionality, of its own "lying character" of truthfulness. The production and reception of literature takes place within the communicative framework of a “pact of fiction”, which encompasses all three literary genres and presupposes a “suspension of disbelief”, i.e. the reader's voluntary suspension of distrust (Coleridge 1817, 6).7 It is therefore no coincidence that the first great modern novel, Cervantes ’ Don Quixote (1605/1615), has a reader as a hero who disregards all literary signals of lies and takes the invented stories and characters of the chivalric novels so much at face value that he tries to interpret and reinterpret his own reality in their sense. Apparently the rules of the literary pact were already so firmly established in Cervantes' time that the reading public could make fun of the incompetent reader Don Quixote who was incapable of decoding fictional signals.

However, this primary inability of literature to lie raises a number of questions: If literature itself is free of lies, why is the lie so often addressed in literary works? If lying signals and the fictional pact were so firmly established in the 16th century that literature itself could quite obviously make fun of their misinterpretation, the question arises why the accusation of lies against literature continued to be raised so frequently and why not only readers, but also poets and theorists feel compelled to respond. And this is followed by a further question: Can we then speak of a specifically literary lie at all? And if so, what contribution can their investigation make to a general theory of the lie?8

One of the reasons for speaking of the “lie of literature” is that it is often to be understood as a literary trope itself. When literature is thematized as a form of lie in some publications, this is mostly true in a metonymic sense: because literary works depict liars and lies on the level of history, literary lies are spoken of. When literary works depict liars, as is the case with Pikaro, with Baron Munchausen, at Pinocchio or the impostor Felix Krull is clearly the case, then this in no way means that these works themselves are capable of lying. Because Collodi depicts a character in his famous children's book who sometimes lies, the work he has written is far from lying.

In addition, numerous theses about literature as a lie are based on the fading out of the literary lie signals and thus on a confusion of lies and fiction (see above). In this case, the character of a lie is tied to the fact that literary works make up stories. Therefore, the assertion is only to be understood metaphorically. Incidentally, exactly the same finding applies to all rhetorical figures. Obviously, someone who uses a rhetorical figure is not lying, even though he is saying something other than what he believes. For example, if someone says he died a thousand deaths, the hyperbola also serves as a signal of lies, the rhetorical code indicates the lie and cancels it.9 But does this mean that lies through and with literature are completely excluded? Instead of answering this question in principle, an attempt will be made in the following to give a differentiated answer to the question of the relationship between literature and lies.

2. The lie with and in literature

Since the lie is a special form of communication, it makes sense to examine its forms and functions on the different levels of narrative communication and to use the model common in narratological research (Fieguth 1973).

2.1 The level of external communication between real author and real reader

The most visible form of a literary lie that is probably closest to everyday understanding is when an author makes factual assertions in an autobiographical work that later turn out to be false. In this case, the real author lies to his no less real reader in a normal language understanding of the word. The most spectacular recent case for German literature in this respect is that of Binjamin Wilkomirski and his autobiographical story Fragments. From a childhood 1939-1948 (1995), who reports on his experiences in the concentration camp. In 1998, Wilkomirski was then exposed by the Swiss author Daniel Ganzfried as the orphan Bruno Grosjean, who was born in Switzerland and adopted by the Doleker couple. In this as in comparable cases, there is a lie in the general sense of the word, since here there is no fictional, but an autobiographical or factual pact in which the author, narrator and hero are identical.10 In this case, the author and narrator lies to his real readers both about his true identity and about the events which he claims to be real or factual, even though he knows that they are fictional. All the conditions for the existence of a lie are thereby fulfilled: A hidden discrepancy between opinion and statement serves further purposes, such as attracting public attention and acquiring symbolic capital. However, such a lie is not specifically literary in the narrower sense, because it affects all forms of assumption of false assertions of fact and assumed pseudo-identities.

A special form of the lie that is apparently closer to literature arises in relation to the ascription relationship between author and text. If an author claims counterfactually and against his better judgment that he is the author of a work that was actually written by someone else, then there is also a lie in the everyday sense of the word. In Martin Suter's novel Purple, purple (2004) the hero finds a manuscript in the drawer of a piece of furniture bought at a flea market and agrees to publish it under his name in order to win the love of a woman. Even if this happens without the involvement of the "wrong" author, it is still the same type of lie. In Alberto Manguel's novel Todos los hombres son mentirosos (2008) published the friend of the protagonist Alejandro Bevilacqua under his name a novel with the title Elogio de la mentirawhich was actually written by his cellmate in prison. The opposite case also falls into the same category, i.e. when an author publishes his own text under a pseudonym and assigns this name to a real person, as Romain did, in order to make the illusion of the literary world perfect Gary did with the author Émile Ajar, who was created by him (Bona 1987, 269ff.). Perhaps the most spectacular case in recent German literary history is that of Helene Hegemann's critically acclaimed first novel Axolotl Roadkill (2010). The blogger Deef Pirmasens proved that Hegemann not only stories and experiences, but also literally from the novel Strobe (2009) copied from Airen. In this case, there is certainly a form of lie that has to do with literature, but it is not specifically literary either, because in this case it is more a legal issue than a literary lie in the narrower sense.11

However, a new type of plagiarism allegation has emerged recently, which is more of a literary nature. Two French writers, Marie NDiaye and Camille Laurens, have independently accused their colleague Marie Darieussecq of using their particular fictional worlds (NDiaye) or their own experiences (Laurens) to write their novels (Darieussecq 2010). It should be noted that these allegations are no longer a violation of copyright law or the theft of intellectual property in the concrete sense of the word, but a special form of “literary lie” that falls under the responsibility of aesthetics. Because neither NDiaye nor Laurens wanted to accuse Darieussecq of plagiarism in the legal sense of the word. The fact that she wrote her own text has never been questioned. Rather, Marie NDiaye accused her colleague for the novel Naissance des fantômes (1998) having used her fictional universe while Camille Laurens held up against the author for her book Tom est mort (2007) that of her in the story Philippe (1995) to have used the processed experience of the death of their own child.This accusation moves in the border area between the system of law and that of aesthetics: On the one hand, of course, there is the accusation of having made use of the intellectual property of the two authors, but more decisive and relevant in this context is the criticism, the fictional world to have copied from other authors (NDiaye) and to take over foreign, literary experiences already processed by others (Laurens) in order to write one's own novels. Obviously, this is less a violation of copyright law than a disregard for the authenticity and originality requirements of modern aesthetics.

Also originally suspected of lying are two newer genres that are on the threshold between factual and fictional discourse. It's about the genres of auto-fiction and docufiction, in which real and fictional events mix.12 In principle, however, literary documentary fiction does not deviate very much from the basic constellation of fictional literature, because this, as is well known, mixes factual and fictional elements. In Stendhal's novel La Chartreuse de Parme (1839) also include real characters such as Napoléon and real events such as the Battle of Waterloo, the plot of Gustave Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary (1856) is set in part in the real city of Rouen. And in fact, the actual criterion to differentiate between factual and fictional pacts is not the fictionality of the narrated events, but the fictionality of the statements. Therefore, the docufiction, with its interweaving of fictional events and characters, always implies a reinterpretation of the ontological status ’of the author's statement, which is derealized in the same breath as the invented places, characters and events. In this respect, every documentary fiction, strictly speaking, also involves a modification of the ontological status ’not only of the places, figures and events, i.e. the objects of the statement, but also of the subject of the statement, i.e. the author or narrator. The difference between documentary and auto-fiction is therefore not ontological either, but only concerns a shift in the accent, depending on whether the objects of the statement, i.e. the places, events or figures, are the focus of interest or their subject. The autofiction's birth certificate is undoubtedly a text by Serge Doubrovsky with the title Fils (1977), who alternates between factual and fictional pacts. In the case of Alain Robbe-Grillet's story Le Miroir qui revient (1981) we are faced with a similar phenomenon. Here, too, the reader has to assume an autobiographical and that is factual pact, because author, narrator and hero have the same name. Experiences from his own youth and from the epoch when Robbe-Grillet was already the well-known literary author of the nouveau roman is. In this factual text, however, narratives are woven, such as the stories of Count Henri de Corinthe, which do not have the same factual status and whose fictional character is indicated by some literary stylizations. Only if these stories were understood by the reader in the context of an autobiographical pact would there be a lie.13

2.2 Lies and liars on the level of internal communication

Just as visible as on the level of communication between author and reader is the lie on the level of internal communication between the characters. Indeed, a cursory glance at literary history shows that it is teeming with liars. This is borne out by a whole series of famous lying figures that range from antiquity to the present. In the Bible the dynasty of liars is established by Adam and Eve, runs through Cain, Jacob, the Hebrew midwives to Judas and Simon Peter. Even Jesus lies to his brothers at the Feast of Tabernacles and God also sends a lying spirit to King Ahab in order to lead him to a battle that he knows Ahab will lose (cf.Mecke 2014). Also in two other cardinal texts of antiquity, in Homers Iliad and the Odyssey liars, deceivers and deceivers cavort. The assessment of the lie is by no means always negative. It is well known that the Greeks do not take Troy in battle, but through the ruse of the Trojan horse. In the Odyssey, the liar and deceiver Odysseus, whose untruthfulness arouses the total disgust of his fellow combatant Achilles, is even praised by Pallas Athene for his lies (Bettetini 2003, 70). The series of renowned literary liars can be continued at will, in the Renaissance and in the Baroque with the Spanish picaro, who knows the lies - as in Lazarillo de Tormes (1554) - served out of simple necessity or - as in Quevedos Buscón (1626) - as a means of demonstrating one's own ingenuity; she continues with Alarcóns La verdad sospechosa (1624), a play about a notorious liar, which Corneille later entitled Le Menteur (1644) reworked it for the French classic, in the 18th century with Rudolf Erich Raspes (1785) and Gottfried August Bürgers Tales of the Baron Münchhausen (1786), in the 19th century with Collodis Le avventure di Pinocchio (1883) as a demonstration object of a pedagogically motivated condemnation of lies, or in the 20th century with Thomas Manns Confessions of the impostor Felix Krull (1922-1954), with Nathalie Sarrautes radio play Le Mensonge (1967) or the series of Romanesques (e.g. Le miroir qui revient, 1985) by Alain Robbe-Grillet, with Jurek Becker's novel Jacob the Liar (1969) or Stephen Frys The Liar (1991), a novel in which lies become a delightful postmodern game that simulates sense and meaning in a monotonous world. The few examples cited from an abundance of texts show that liars in literature offer a wealth of illustrative material for the study of lies.

In this context, it is interesting to ask why liars and lies hold such a fascination for literature. One reason for the attractiveness of lies lies in the principle and primary freedom from lies in literature. Because the fictional pact and signals of lies cancel the lie, literature is neutral towards the lie and becomes an ideal medium for its investigation. Another motive lies in the accusations of lies that are often made against literature, regardless of their freedom from lies. Since invocations of truthfulness and denials tend to reinforce the suspicion that they should actually dispel, the only possibility of asserting one's own truthfulness is to establish a difference to liars and lies. By thematizing liars as the object of their testimony, literature can distance itself as a testimony subject from the lie and the accusation of lying and thus present it as truthful. Beyond that, however, there is a second reason for the mutual attraction of literature and lies, which is closely related to the possibilities of literature. Symptomatic for this reason is the fact that not the notorious liar and deceiver Odysseus and also not the baron of lies Münchhausen, but Pinocchio of all people, is the universally valid icon for the lie and the liar. That this is the case must surprise any impartial reader of Collodi's book, because although Pinocchio never misses a boyish prank, he is far from being a notorious liar. In truth, he rarely lies, and actually only lies to protect his friends and himself.14 Its function as a universal symbol of the liar is not related to the frequency of his lies, but above all to the fact that his name is inextricably linked with a central irritation that the lie evokes as a semiotic phenomenon. In contrast to other forms of communication, it represents a semiotic phenomenon that erases all signs of its own presence. This has a twofold consequence: the liar must do everything possible to cover up the discrepancy between his opinion and his expression, while the recipient is confronted with the complementary problem of having to discover signs of the existence of something for which it is in Successful case of the liar gives no sign. This semiotic anomaly provides an explanation for the fascination exercised by the lie and for the intensive search for unmistakable clues which betray lies and liars. From this perspective, the modern lie detector or the success of television series are like Lie to me nothing more than modern manifestations of the ancient human dream to have unmistakable signs of the existence of the lie. Pinocchio's elongated nose is just its most powerful symbol.

However, this results in a further connection between lies and literature. Because through the possibility given with it, through focalization, narrative perspective, inner monologue and stream of consciousness To depict the awareness of different figures, to confront them with their communicative expressions and to uncover the discrepancy between the two, literature allows an unmistakable knowledge of the lie that is never possible in everyday life. Based on this reliable recognizability and representability of the lie, literature offers the possibility of examining its various forms, functions and structures. Not only thanks to its freedom from lies and its long history, but also because of its design possibilities, literature therefore also provides the richest illustrative material on lies, richer than all the media before and after it.

However, the question of whether literature itself is capable of lying is to be distinguished from the question of the specific forms of representation of the lie, i.e. whether there is a lie of the literary representation in addition to the literary representation of the lie.

2.3 Unreliable narrators

So far we have only considered the internal communication system of narratives in addition to the external one. On the external level of communication between real author and real reader, literature can serve as a means of lying, for example to deceive the reader either about the factuality of the reported events or about the literary work as the author's product. This is about a lie "with" literature. On the inner communication level, that is, the level of the action and the characters, liars and lies, on the other hand, have the status of an object of representation. In this case it is a lie 'in' literature. In the following, however, the question will be whether literature itself is able to lie, it is about literature itself 'as' a lie. In order to clarify this question, it is advisable to first deal with the level that defines the specifics of narrative literature, that is, with the intermediary between internal and external communication.

Narrator characters naturally play a prominent role in this. since
Wayne C. Booth's reflections in The Rhetoric of Fiction (1961) the liar is regarded as a special form of the unreliable narrator. Of course, this term encompasses more than just liars, as narrators such as Benjy in The Sound and the Fury (1929) by William Faulkner, can be mentally disabled, suffer from memory loss or impaired perception. Booth's classic definition is: "I have called a narrator reliable when he speaks for or acts in accordance with the norms of the work (which is to say the implied author's norms), unreliable when he does not." (Booth 1961, 158f. ). However, this definition, which has long been adopted without contradiction in narratology, raises a number of problems: First of all, unreliability is in principle viewed as a deficient form of communication that can be judged morally and aesthetically.15 In addition, unreliable narration is mostly limited to homodiegetic narrator figures or heterodiegetic narrator figures that constitute themselves as a person through evaluations. In addition, the unreliability is measured against the figure of an implicit author as the guarantor of the norms of the work. From the perspective of the definition of the lie developed above, this definition would have to be modified in two ways: In the sense of a morally neutral and value-free view of the lie - the value of science is precisely its value freedom - a theory of unreliable narration should be freed from value judgments. In addition, the theory of the lie outlined above is not tied to a person. The formulations chosen in the definition are deliberately chosen neutrally in order to be able to include other forms of lies, such as the "objective mendacity" sketched by Walter Benjamin in his fragments, in which the liar still lies in good faith (Benjamin 1985). Therefore, the theory should not be limited to a narrator constituting himself as a character. Rather, the attempt should be made to resolve the question of the unreliability of narration from the narrator's figure and also to take into account forms of narrative unreliability that is not tied to a personal narrator figure.

From the perspective of a value-free theory of lies, newer theoretical approaches to unreliable storytelling are therefore particularly interesting. In this way, the unreliable narrator can be understood as a narrator whose perspective contradicts the norm system of the entire text. On this basis, Ansgar Nünning has redesigned the unreliable narrator as part of the frame theory which, in addition to the text-internal norms, also takes into account the contextual frame of reference, the cultural schemes and the prior knowledge or world knowledge of the recipient. The unreliable narrator appears in the light of this theory as a construction that allows the reader to resolve contradictions within the text and between the fictional world of the text and his own model of reality. According to this model, textual inconsistencies are resolved by attributing them to the narrator's unreliability (Nünning 1998). This theoretical framework also offers the advantage that the identification of an unreliable narrator can no longer be recognized intuitively, but rather on the basis of specific text signals.16 First, the unreliable homodiegetic narrator should use the Lazarillo de Tormes to be examined.

2.3.1 The homodiegetic narrator as a liar

The figure conception of the picaro as a servant of many gentlemen from the lower social class is particularly suitable for the representation and criticism of social lies. Lazarillo went through a large part of Spanish society in his career and was confronted with numerous forms of lies. As the son of a miller, he gets to know his father's deceptions, as a servant of a blind man he is known for pretending to be deceit and theft, with a priest with hypocrisy, with an impoverished nobleman with social masquerade. After many other stations, Lazarillo finally got a job as a “pregonero”, a crier, which provided him with a lucrative livelihood in the last chapter at the instigation of the Arcipreste of San Salvador in Toledo. Lázaro marries the priest's housekeeper. However, he pays a high price for livelihood and marriage, because the archpriest only made employment and marriage possible in order to be able to continue his relationship with his housekeeper undisturbed.

In all episodes the deceptions, disguises, frauds and lies of society are portrayed from the perspective of the protagonist. The naivety of the young Lazarillo in particular ensures a neutral, impartial look that is able to recognize and describe the respective deceptions and lies. When children and fools speak the truth, the outsider figure of Picaro is a guarantee of truthfulness in relation to the lies of society. The novel doesn’t stop there, however, because Lazarillo himself is an apprentice to the liars he serves and there he learns the art of lying himself. With the blind he learns deception, with the priest the cunning and with the impoverished nobleman the pretense and practice it himself. When he finally receives the position of crier in Toledo, he not only searches the public about the ménage à trois between the archpriest, his own wife and himself, but also to deceive the reader. The lie thus changes from the plot to the story, from the inner to the mediating level of communication.

A Copernican turn is thus emerging in the relationship between lies and literature.Literature no longer only tells of lies, but is enabled to lie itself. The lie, so far only the object of a narrative - as shown above - in principle free of lies, becomes its subject or instance of assertion. In the terminology of narratology, this means that the lie has been transferred from the level of the macrostructure, i.e. from the narrated story, the structure of the plot and the constellation of the characters to the level of the narrative discourse structure itself; it wanders from the signified of the Telling the signifier, from literature about liars and lies to lying literature.17

If, however, Lázaro as the narrator in the novel is denounced as a liar, i.e. if his lies are signaled, the narrator's lies would be repealed and would no longer be effective as such. Isn't there a lie in this case after all? To answer this question, it is worth taking a look at the preface to the novel.

At first glance it seems Prólogo to be constructed in an almost classic way according to rhetorical principles and to be interspersed with a whole series of literary topoi.18 The grandiose announcement of the narrator of "cosas tan señaladas, y por ventura nunca oídas ni vistas", that is, of unheard-of and never-seen things (Lazarillo, 3)19 in the very first lines of the text obviously serves as exordiumwhich is supposed to get the reader's attention and interest in a screeching manner. With an allusion to the Horazsche prodesse aut delectare (Lazarillo, 4) The text then suggests two types of reading: It is aimed at readers who want to deepen their understanding as well as at those who simply read for the sake of enjoyment ("a los que no ahondaren, tanto los deleite" (Lazarillo, 4). In a argumentatio these two reception possibilities are then justified with the topos of the diversity of human tastes (“Los gustos no son todos unos”; Lazarillo, 4), which leads to the fact that one can benefit from anything. Finally, the author moves on to the motifs of the letter with another topos: those of Cicero as propositio adopted sentence “La honra cría las artes” (“The pursuit of honor creates the arts”; Lazarillo, 6) is through the exempla of a soldier, a preacher and a tournament fighter, all of whom perform heroic deeds for the sake of honor and prestige (Lazarillo, 6-8). The Exempla flow into one captatio benevelontiae, because Lázaro modestly presents his work as a grossly written nullity ("esta nonada que en este grosero estilo escribo"; Lazarillo, 8f.). Lázaro ends with a justification for the structure of his life story and makes the socio-critical morality of his book explicit: The rich and noble, who owe their social position solely to their origin, should see that they owe themselves much less ("cuán poco se les debe, pues Fortuna fue con ellos parcial ”; Lazarillo, 11) as people of low origin who finally ended up in the port of happiness under their own steam ("y cuánto más hicieron los que [la fortuna, J.M.] siéndoles contraria, con fuerza y ​​maña remando, salieron a buen puerto"; Lazarillo, 11). The foreword thus formulates a clearly expressed socio-critical opinion.

What at first glance appears to be a well-ordered and purposefully arguing discourse that culminates in a clear moral of the revaluation of prevailing values, however, shows a whole series of inconsistencies and contradictions that come to light when the reader reads the in-depth reading form formulated in the text who practiced “ahondar”. Likewise, the addition of the “nunca oídas”, ie the “unheard of” by “ni vistas”, ie the “never seen”, undermines the assertion of the truthfulness of history, which is linked to the autobiographical perspective. What at first looks like a mere screeching advertising event for your own text amounts to undermining your own claims. Because Lázaro may be reporting things that he has actually neither heard nor seen and therefore never experienced. In doing so, the narrator implicitly takes up the accusation of the Platonic Vulgate that the poets lie because they tell stories made up. However, the case of Lazarillo is somewhat different, because he expresses this reproach within a literary system that is essentially “free of lies”. It would therefore be a lie within literary communication, which in principle is free of lies, and thus a literary lie or a lie of the second degree. The Horazian topos of “prodesse aut delectare” is also subjected to a textual subversion, because “agradar” (to please) and “deleitar” (to delight) are obviously synonyms. This relativizes the benefit that a reader interested in deepening his understanding could derive from the reading. With the following Pliny quote “Que no hay libro, por malo que sea, que no tenga alguna cosa buena” (“No book is so bad that one cannot draw any benefit from it”; Lazarillo, 4) the previously relativized claim is completely reduced to absurdity. The author of the foreword merely adopts the form of Horace's saying, but undermines it with his statement. He also goes with Cicero's sentence “La honra cria las artes” (Lazarillo, 6) around. Because on closer inspection, the Exempla arranged in the form of a climax do not confirm the thesis that honor produces art, but undermine it. The example of a soldier who risks his life for the sake of honor and fame may still be a fitting illustration (Lazarillo, 6), the concept of honor already has a negative connotation in the example of a preacher who is apparently concerned above all with the welfare of the congregation and who is possibly more out for prestige and applause than it is due to him (Lazarillo, 7), before he is finally exposed as the cause of self-deception in the example of a poorly fighting knight who falls for the flattery of his squire, to whom he gives his chain mail because, despite his poor performance, he praises him for having wielded a good lance : “Justó muy ruinmente el señor Don Fulano y dio el sayete de armas al truhán porque le loaba de haber llevado muy buenas lanzas; ¿Qué hiciera si fuera verdad? "(Lazarillo, 8).

In one for the Lazarillo de Tormes characteristic, reflective figure, Lázaro’s criticism of the concept of honor in Spanish society now turns against himself and the motive of his own writing:

Y todo va de esta manera; que confesando yo no ser más sancto que mis vecinos desta nonada, que en este grosero estilo escribo, no me pesará que hayan parte y se huelguen con ello todos los que en ella algún gusto hallaren, y vean que vive un hombre con tantas fortunas, peligros y adversidades. (Lazarillo, 9)20

Let us record the results from the perspective of lie theory: Apparently the text represents an opinion that is explicitly expressed towards the end, which takes a stand for the outsiders and the oppressed in society and formulates a no less radical social criticism. This opinion runs counter to the way in which it is expressed. Almost all the theses that the narrator puts forward, namely that his story is true and unheard of, that his book is suitable for acquiring literary fame, etc., are undermined by his utterances. in the Lazarillo However, this discrepancy between opinion and expression is not displayed in an open and clear form. Rather, it remains hidden by the special form of ambiguities and ambiguities. A sensible reader can, however, remove this elaborate concealment by not falling for the surface of the opinion expressed, but by dealing more closely with the literary form of the utterance. In this case, however, the reader does exactly what people do in everyday life when they suspect they have been lied to. The foreword of the Lazarillo However, it takes on a peculiar double status: It hides the discrepancies shown and at the same time - also in a hidden, coded form - provides references to them. The Lazarillo's text thus presents itself like the farmer's daughter from the fairy tale, who is neither naked nor clothed. This creates an attitude in the reader that is complementary to the concealment of the discrepancies; he tries to uncover the literary concealments. In this way, a specifically literary form of the lie is created with the means of narration.

2.3.2 The communicative framework of the mediation level

From the example of Lazarillo de Tormes however, draw a second conclusion. Lazarillo obviously belongs to the very category of characters that Michel Foucault called “hommes infâmes”, that is, people without fama, without history and without fame (Foucault 1977). From this perspective one can see the radicalism of the approach novela picaresca do not rate highly enough. What was previously excluded from literature now becomes its subject, and from the perspective of the hero himself. If one takes into account the social position of Picaro, the novel makes a central statement about an important social function of the lie. Because, as the preface makes clear, the story of Lázaro is the answer to a - hypocritical and devious - request from a high-ranking gentleman, who at the end of the novel turns out to be a friend of precisely the archpriest who is responsible for the ménage à trois is responsible, through which the hero secured his livelihood, but lost his honor. In this situation, the invitation of the high-ranking personality addressed with “Vuestra Merced” (Your Grace, J.M.) means a classic one Double bind, a contradicting, paradoxical request to the narrator: He should justify himself, but without having the opportunity to do so. For in his case any justification means an indictment from the mighty high lords responsible for his situation. The lies of the narrator as well as those of the hero who is identical to him are the only way out of an inherently hopeless situation. From the analysis of the narrator as a liar in the Lazarillo To draw conclusions not only about the literary form but also about the social function of the lie that go beyond the novel and its epoch.

2.3.3 The lie as a power of the weak and anti-morality of the ruled

in the Lazarillo de Tormes The lie appears as a legitimate means of the oppressed and weak to protect and defend themselves against the unreasonable demands of the rulers and the powerful. This conclusion, however, has consequences for the theory of the lie, which can be found with the help of Nietzsches Genealogy of Morals get to the point. Nietzsche undertakes in the genealogy As is well known, the attempt to investigate the origin, the conditions, circumstances and functions of values:

Let us express it, this new demand: we need a critique of moral values, the value of these values ​​itself must first be questioned - and for this we need a knowledge of the conditions and circumstances out of which they have grown, under which they have grown have developed and shifted (morality as a consequence, as a symptom, as a mask, as tartuffism, as an illness, as a misunderstanding; but also morality as a cause, as a remedy, as a stimulant, as an inhibition, as a poison), as such knowledge neither up to was there now, has only been coveted (Nietzsche 1887, X)

Nietzsche differentiates between master and slave morals. The gentleman's morality consists of the values ​​of a ruling class that defines its own norms as good in the sense of "noble", "noble", "powerful", while the values ​​of the underprivileged as "bad" in the sense of "simple", "(All) common", "unpleasant" are disqualified (Nietzsche 1887, 3ff., 6, 12, passim). In complete contrast to this stands the “slave morality” as the value system of the underprivileged, whose values ​​arose from resentment against the values ​​of the master class defined as “evil” (Nietzsche 1887, 21, passim). On this basis, for example, the moral of Christianity, consisting of values ​​such as compassion, charity and love for one's neighbor, is explained as the typical moral of the inferior. If you apply the principles of Genealogy of Morals on the evaluation of the lie, it shows that one can also put its 'value' in relation to social positions. If you take the basic idea of genealogy seriously and asks here, too, instead of the reasons for a certain moral valuation, rather about the reasons why people believe they have to act according to certain values ​​or according to a certain morality Lazarillo find the reasons for the categorical condemnation of the lie as well as for the conditional assessment, i.e. depending on the purposes intended with it. The statement made by the oppressed, dishonorable and infamous Lázaro on the lie is closely related to his social position. Because here lies, deception and intrigue are a tried and tested means of effectively circumventing the power of the rulers and their claim to total control. The lie makes it possible to withdraw from the omnipotence of church, state and nobility and to maintain a certain individual freedom. The fact that a belief can be covered up by a dissenting statement removes it from general supervision. In Nietzsche's theory, such an attitude towards lies would clearly fall under the category of the “slave morality” of the oppressed, because it is a morality of the weak who know how to defend themselves against the unreasonable demands of power. And it is probably no coincidence that in the Nietzschean reconstruction of the Genealogy of Morals claim that the mighty are also the true ones.

For example, they are called "the true ones"; first of all the Greek nobility, whose mouthpiece is the Megarian poet Theognis. The word esthlos pronounced for it means one who is, who has reality, who is real, who is true; then, with a subjective twist, the true as the truthful: in this phase of the conceptual transformation it becomes the catchphrase of the nobility and goes completely into the sense of "noble", to distinguish it from the lying common man [.. .]. (Nietzsche 1887, 7).

From the point of view of the rulers, the lie is therefore condemnable. From the perspective of a genealogy, the Lazarillo de Tormes The reasons for such a morality are open: First of all, nobles, as superior, can afford to tell the truth to subordinates, because they do not need to be considerate and do not have to fear sanctions. In addition, however, both the archpriest and his high-born friend, who asks Lázaro for information and disclosure of a situation that he himself only needs to know too well, are members of the mighty members of Spanish society Siglo de Oro, have every interest in ensuring that their subjects are 'true', have no secrets from them and openly express what they think and what moves them. In the hands of the powerful, the categorical condemnation of lies, sanctioned by means of a manipulative interpretation of the 8th commandment and under threat of heavenly punishment, and the associated compulsion to be truthful, are an excellent means of control. From the perspective of the Lazarillo de Tormes the categorical prohibition of lying thus proves to be a dispositive of power. While the mighty can literally afford the truth, the weak rely on the lie to protect themselves from the mighty. What power to one is a lie to another. As a social technology and power disposition, the categorical ban on lying has ensured that comprehensive control since antiquity that is performed today through information technology of massive data extraction.

Through the narrator's lie, the reader gets to know this new morality not only as a theory and object of representation, but also as a practice that enables him to understand and practice the moral attitude of deception himself. This also makes it clear that the lie in Lázaro's narrative affects not only the level of meaning, but also the level of participation.That is precisely the point of the fact that the lie passes from the hero to the narrator. Only this transition from the object to the subject of representation, from representation to participation, gives the reader insight into the possibilities of understanding the lie as a subversive morality and practicing it himself in order to oppose the rulers and their power.

2.3.4 The heterodiegetic narrator as a liar

While the possibility of an unreliable homodiegetic narrator like him in the Lazarillo de Tormes is available, is undisputed, when discussing the question of whether there can be an unreliable heterodiegetic narrator, opinions differ. Can a heterodiegetic - or, in Stanzel's terminology, authorial - narrator be unreliable even though, in contrast to the autodiegetic and homodiegetic narrator, he does not belong to the world of the story being told, but rather mediates or creates it? According to Manfred Jahn (1998), for example, the homodiegetic narrator moves within the framework of a text-reader contract that records general reading expectations and defines what is normal and what is considered a violation. In the case of homodiegetic narration, the narrative statements are usually “world-reflecting utterances”, which are subordinate to general conditions. Further details of the contract are that the narrator has the right to his own style, but at the same time has to adhere to the basic rules of natural communication and is subject to general human existence and knowledge restrictions. In contrast, a heterodiegetic text consists mainly of performative or “world-creating utterances” (Ryan 1981, 530), which are based on other structures. Therefore, the statements of a heterodiegetic narrator can either be considered necessarily true or as fact-generating and performative (Jahn 1998, 99). The heterodiegetic narrator first creates the world by which his truthfulness or lies can be measured. A heterodiegetic narrator cannot therefore be unreliable either. Similar considerations apply to the lie.

The question of the possibility, form and function of an unreliable or lying heterodiegetic narrator should be examined using the example of the Prix ​​Goncourt excellent novel Je m’en vais (1999) by Jean Echenoz. It tells the story of the gallery owner Ferrer, who, on the advice of his assistant Delahaye, plans a trip to the North Pole in order to recover very valuable works of primitive Eskimo art from a ship that was wrecked in the ice in the 1950s. After the sudden death and funeral of his assistant, Ferrer sets off. In fact, he succeeds in recovering the art treasure and transporting it to France. Before he can sell it, however, the sculptures are stolen from his gallery. The narrative now alternately reports on Ferrer's efforts to recover the stolen works of art and the misdeeds of the gangster Baumgartner, who stole the pieces.

Throughout the novel we are dealing with an extradiegetic and heterodiegetic narrator who also intervenes in the narrative with comments, evaluations and statements. For the first time, this happens right at the beginning: “Puis, le portail franchi, négligeant l’ascenseur, il attaqua fermement un escalier de service. Il parvint au sixième étage moins essoufflé que j’aurais cru. "(Je m’en vais, 9) Although the narrator constitutes himself in principle as extradiegetic and heterodiegetic by his remark, his position is still ambiguous. As an extradiegetic and heterodiegetic narrator, he is in principle omniscient about the narrated world, that is, there should be a focalization that encompasses all characters. Through the passage “moins essouflé que j’aurais cru”, however, he also takes one of the first contradicting homodiegetic positions in combination with an external focus. He appears as a mere external observer of an action and a figure, which he himself created and whose properties he should know very well.

The otherwise omniscient narrator also takes a strictly external focus on his characters in other situations, for example when Ferrer cannot decide to kiss the beautiful Hélène: “Et toujours pas moyen de savoir si Ferrer est intimidé, s'il craint d'être repoussé ou si c'est juste qu'il n'y tient pas plus que ça. "(Je m’en vais, 184) The ambiguity affects not only the narrative perspective, but also the construction of the story, the narrative discourse itself: “Personnellement je commence à en avoir un peu assez, de Baumgartner. Sa vie quotidienne est trop fastidieuse. A part vivre à l’hôtel, téléphoner tous les deux jours et visiter ce qui lui tombe sous la main, vraiment il ne fait pas grand-chose. Tout cela manque de ressort. "(Je m’en vais189) At this point the narrator jumps into the role of the reader, pretending that he himself is not responsible for the narrative, but only takes note of it, while the criticism of the lack of tension naturally goes against his own Skills as a narrator.

Towards the end of the novel, however, the reader falls from all clouds. When Ferrer can finally ask Baumgartner, he experiences a surprise: Because it shows that Baumgartner and the apparently deceased assistant Delahaye are one and the same person: “Tiens, dit Ferrer, Delahaye. Je me disais bien, aussi "(Je m’en vais, 227). While the character Ferrer can of course make such a discovery at the story level, this is not the case with a heterodiegetic narrator who is aware of the identity of both characters. Not only has the narrator obviously withheld information from his reader - every authorial narrator does this without the reader feeling deceived - but he has obviously lied to him about Delahaye's true identity by naming Delahaye with a false name. There is no break with narrative conventions like the one here nouveau roman has practiced. If the story of the main character Georges in Claude Simons novel La Route des Flandres (1960) is told once in the first and then again in the third person singular, i.e. alternates between homodiegetic and heterodiegetic narrative position, then this happens in a form that is visible and comprehensible for the reader at all times, because he defines the identity of the "Je" and "Il" designated figure open. In contrast to this, Echenoz ’narrator refers to the same person by different names, although he knows their identity. His narrative deception does not break with the narrative conventions, but must - for his literary lie to work - presuppose them. With this technique, Echenoz differs both from literary convention and from the experiments of modernity. There is no avant-garde experiment here, because here the conventional code of narration is observed, so that here the reader also expects its observance, an expectation that is disappointed. The result is a specifically literary lie. It is specific because it uses the means of literary code to deceive the reader and because the subject of the lie relates to a narrative code the validity of which the narrator seems to respect. In this respect, we can state that even a heterodiegetic narrator can be quite unreliable and can lie. However, it has also become clear that the narrative lie is based on the narrator assuming an ambiguous position and oscillating between a heterodiegetic and a homodiegetic status.

At some points in the novel, this ambiguity of the narrator's position takes the form of a narrative metalepse that achieves the same comical or humorous effect as the classic forerunners in Sternes Tristram Shandy (1759ff.) Or Diderots Jacques le Fataliste et son maître (1765ff.). The narrator claims at one point that he cannot continue the current narrative thread because it is interrupted by an important event: “Mais nous ne pouvons, dans l'immédiat, développer ce point vu qu'une actualité plus urgente nous mobilise: nous apprenons à l'instant, en effet, la disparition tragique de Delahaye. "(Je m’en vais, 62) The claim is of course implausible, because Ferrer's story is not told in the mode of simultaneity between plot and narrative, so that the narrator would have all the time in the world to finish the first thread.

Not only the status of the narrator, but also that of the characters is ambiguous, because sometimes the characters take on the actual functions of the narrator, critic or reader, for example by criticizing his construction of the story. When Baumgartner locks his accomplice Le Flétan in the freezer container of his delivery truck to let him die, the latter counters with arguments that are actually more at the level of the composition of the novel:

Mais non, a dit le Flétan, mais non, et puis arrêtez de pérorer, s’il vous plaît. Il a encore essayé de convaincre Baumgartner avant de paraître à court d’arguments. De plus, a-t-il tenté de faire valoir en désespoir de cause, c’est un procédé tellement banal, votre truc. On tue les gens comme ça dans tous les téléfilms, ça n’a vraiment rien d’original. Ce n’est pas faux, a reconnu Baumgartner, mais je revendique l’influence des téléfilms. Le téléfilm est un art comme un autre. Et puis bon, ça suffit maintenant. (Je m’en vais, 152)

Instead of fighting for his survival, as it should be for a character on the narrative level of the plot, Baumgartner's accomplice criticizes the lack of originality of the solution he is aiming for. And the latter does not respond like an opponent, but rather like the author of a story, by acknowledging the influence of the television series.

Let's keep it clear: Echenoz lets his basically heterodiegetic narrator appear to be implausible and a liar. This is made possible by the narrator assuming an ambiguous position that allows him to oscillate between a heterodiegetic and a homodiegetic narrative position, a position that is actually maintained throughout the entire novel, but at some points it manifests itself in narrative metaleps.

The last examples also show, however, that the narrator's unreliability and lies do not relate directly to the fictional world, as is the case with, for example Lazarillo de Tormes was the case, but rather on the form of the narrative itself, on its aesthetic composition and construction. The narrator does not seem implausible in terms of his portrayal of the plot, but rather in terms of his ability to give the fictional world an adequate literary expression.

3. Aesthetic lies

With this, however, the analysis moves on a further level, which is about the authenticity of the literary form. Because the story itself contains a number of other inconsistencies and ambiguities: Ferrer realizes that his endeavor to find the thief of his sculptures is completely absurd, because he does not even know what the Baumgartner he is looking for looks like: “Mais ouch bout d'une semaine son entreprise lui parut sans espoir, chercher un inconnu dans une ville inconnue ne rimait à rien, le découragement le gagna. "(Je m’en vais, 224). However, this objection concerns less the actions of the character than the composition of the action by the narrator. In addition, the narrative contains a number of narrative ellipses that leave out important elements of the plot and thus make them appear implausible. This is particularly true of Ferrer's relationships with women. The first encounter with various attractive women is told over and over again, when almost nothing happens. In the following scene, the courted woman has already moved in with Ferrer, an event that appears completely unmotivated due to the omission of the time before, as if the narrative wanted to undermine the logic and plausibility of its own action. The numerous unmotivated actions of the characters go in the same direction. When Ferrer becomes faint, a beautiful young woman named Hélène is nearby. Although she actually has nothing to do with what is happening, she visits him every day in the hospital, then also in the gallery, without a friendly or amorous relationship developing between the two. Hélène's motives remain unclear from beginning to end. The same applies to her reasons for ultimately entering into a relationship with Ferrer as well as for her decision to leave him again.

After all, the novel contains episodes that mock all probability and thereby shatter the narrator's credibility. The encounter between Ferrer, who now lives alone, and his neighbor turns into a parody of the novel and surrealist coincidence: "Mieux vaut attendre le hasard d’une rencontre, surtout sans avoir l’air d’attendre non plus. Car c’est ainsi, dit-on, que naissent les grandes inventions: par le contact inopiné de deux produits posés par hasard, l’un à côté de l’autre, sur une paillasse de laboratoire [...]. "(Je m’en vais, 61) The sentence, which reminiscent of Lautréamont's definition of the beautiful as “rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection dune machine à coudre et dun parapluie” (Lautréamont 1874, 323), leads, however, to a “coincidental” one, in reality by the narrator but about a planned and therefore not surrealistic encounter between Ferrer and his neighbor, which he presents counterfactually as the greatest possible coincidence:

Eh bien justement, selon un processus analogue, après de longues recherches vaines au cours desquelles Ferrer a exploré des cercles concentriques de plus en plus éloignés de la rue d'Amsterdam, il finit par trouver ce qu'il cherchait en la personne de sa voisine de palier. Elle s’appelle Bérangère Eisenmann. Voilà qui était inattendu, c’est vraiment la porte à côté. (Je m’en vais, 62)

The narrator is not satisfied with portraying a highly probable encounter as improbable and coincidental, but instead emphasizes its artificiality through his commentary, which makes him as a narrator implausible. The narrator also seems unreliable with regard to the conception of the characters, so it occurs to him late, that is towards the end of the novel, that he has not yet described a character at all, so that he catches up on the description at the last minute.

Nous n’avons pas pris le temps, depuis presque un an pourtant que nous le fréquentons, de décrire Ferrer physiquement. Comme cette scène un peu vive ne se prête pas à une longue digression, ne nous y éternisons pas: disons rapidement qu'il est un assez grand quinquagénaire brun aux yeux verts, ou gris selon le temps, disons qu'il n'est pas mal de sa personne mais précisons que, malgré ses soucis de cœur en tous genres et bien qu'il ne soit pas spécialement costaud, ses forces peuvent se multiplier quand il s'énerve. C’est ce qui paraît en train de se produire. (Je m’en vais, 234)

The description is woven into the middle of the description of Ferrer's argument with Delahaye / Baumgartner. The justification of brevity and its reductionist character with the struggle between the two antagonists is based in turn on a narrative metaleps, a mixture of the narrative levels of story and narrative, plot and narrative discourse.

The narrator's incredibility is reinforced by calculated “mistakes” and “clumsiness” at all levels of the narrative. This category includes, for example, the transitions between the chapters, which replace a logical or chronological sequence with a purely linguistic transition, a kind of literary 'jump cut‘, Which actually underlines rather than conceals that the transition has not really been made. So the narrator switches from the trip to the North Pole and the description of Ferrer's attempts to win over the nurse Brigitte to the description of the events in the gallery six months earlier by means of a Calembour:

Sourire à ce point rassérénant et permissif que Ferrer n’hésita bientôt plus à s’inventer tous les deux jours des affections faciles à simuler - céphalées, courbatures - pour aller réclamer des soins - compresses, massages. Dans un premier temps, ça marchait. - [Chapter 5]. Ce qui marchait moins bien, six mois plus tôt, c’étaient les affaires de la galerie.Car à l’époque dont je parle, le marché de l’art n’est pas brillant et, soit dit en passant, le dernier électrocardiogramme de Ferrer n’est pas très brilliant non plus. (Je m’en vais, 23f.)

These shortcomings also affect the microstructure. The narrator operates with a series of repetitions, which in this case do not appear as aesthetically attractive rhetorical figures, but rather seem to indicate the narrator's inability to diversify his description:

Au dernier étage d’une de ces trois villas, Baumgartner loue très cher un très grand studio. L’escalier qui y accède est d’un vert très foncé, presque noir. Quant au studio lui-même, ses murs sont en marbre brun, la cheminée en marbre veiné de blanc et des spots sont incrustés dans le plafond. Longs rayonnages à peu près vides, longue table avec une assiette sale dessus, long canapé couvert d’une housse bleue. La pièce est assez vaste pour qu’un vaste piano Bechstein poussé dans un coin ne soit qu’un détail, pour que le gros téléviseur logé dans un autre angle ait l’air d’un hublot minuscule. (Je m’en vais, 102) [emphasis added by J. M.]

The narrative and stylistic peculiarities described impair the reader's confidence in the skills and reliability of the narrator. However, there is a crucial difference between the unreliable homodiegetic narrators novela picaresca and the novel by Echenoz. In this case, the mistrust concerns not only his credibility with regard to the truthful portrayal of the events, but also his reliability as the composer of the narrative and the stylist. While the first form of untrustworthiness is intended to lie to the reader, the unreliability in this case extends to a heterodiegetic narrator and his ability to narrate coherently and to create authentic literary language. Ultimately, this arouses the reader's distrust not only of the narrator, but also of the implicit author or the work. The story does not appear authentic, not well enough composed, linguistically artless in an artful way. If the narrator claims that his story lacks dynamism, and one of the characters is of the opinion that the ending that Baumgartner intended for them is not very original, even banal and more worthy of a television series, then these objections concern the coherence and authenticity of the novel a total of. The narrative appears improbable, clumsily structured, weak in composition, illogical in plot and inconsistent in the conception of the characters and in the descriptions. Overall, this leads to a special distancing of the reader, which differs from a traditional break in illusion. Because while illusion breaks signal the fictionality of the narrative, i.e. uncover a second time a 'lie' already signaled by the fictional pact, the unreliability of the heterodiegetic narrator reveals inconsistencies that are located within the pact of fiction. So it is a lie within the framework of the first lie, a lie of the second degree that results from the loss of credibility of the narrative. If we have defined the lie as a hidden discrepancy between opinion and expression, then this definition can also be applied to the present case. Because the convictions of the narrator, the characters and actions he designed and the literary form of expression that he gives him do not match, they are not consistent, but diverge. The narrator tries to cover up this discrepancy with tricks, a cover that in this case also serves further purposes, namely, for example, to make the reader believe in the narrated world.

In an essay worth reading, entitled La verdad de las mentiras Mario Vargas Llosa tried to make the concept of lies fruitful for literary theory and to sketch a theory of literary lies. He considers the primary lie of literary fiction, i.e. the fact that an author creates fictional worlds and tells of them, although he knows that his utterances are not true, as the "truth" of the literary text within the framework of the fiction pact. And in fact, the fictional world of a novel within the framework of the fiction pact is its “reality” and the narrative discourse about it is the literary expression of this reality. If a narrator, author or text is able to correspond to this world through the special narrative and linguistic design, the text is true in the eyes of Vargas Llosa. If, however, he is unable to give the fictional world adequate expression, then in the eyes of Vargas Llosa there is a literary lie:

[...] la verdad de la novela no depende de eso [i.e. of historical veracity, J.M.]. ¿De qué entonces? De su propia capacidad de persuasión, de la fuerza comunicativa de su fantasía, de la habilidad de su magia. Toda buena novela dice la verdad y toda mala miente. Porque “decir la verdad” para una novela significa hacer vivir al lector una ilusión y ‚mentir‘ ser incapaz de lograr esa superchería. La novela es, pues, un género amoral, o, más bien, de una ética sui generis, para la cual verdad o mentira son conceptos exclusivamente estéticos. (Vargas Llosa 1990, 10)

If the lie consists of a concealed discrepancy between opinion and utterance serving for further purposes, one only has to replace the respective valid real opinion of a speaker with the fictitiously assumed "conviction" of literary fiction. A literary fiction would always be truthful if a real or implicit author, heterodiegetic or homodiegetic narrator is able to give this fictitiously assumed second degree conviction an adequate and coherent expression. On the other hand, one can speak of a literary lie wherever this is not the case, that is, where the narrator cannot give the represented fictional world a coherent and authentic expression. In this case one can speak of a literary or aesthetic lie. In the case of a homodiegetic narrator, literary lies can arise from contradictions between statements and actions, between self-image and external image, incoherences in the presentation or signs of ideological stubbornness or mental insanity. This type of lie is very close to the everyday form of the lie, among other things because homodiegetic narrators also act as characters on the level of the plot. On the other hand, the case of the heterodiegetic narrator is more complex, because here the unreliability lies solely on the level of the narrative discourse. The unreliability of a heterodiegetic narrator is therefore also different from that of a homodiegetic one. In this case, the unreliability does not affect the objects, but the discourse of the statement.

However, looking at literature opens up a further component of the theory of lies. In everyday communication we naturally assume that we always have the appropriate expressions available for our opinions. With its own genuine aesthetic problem of form, literature almost directs the focus to the question of whether form (= expression) and fiction (= opinion) correspond to one another. Numerous examples of inconsistent works show that this is not always the case, the most visible expression of which is all forms of literary kitsch. This can be illustrated by an excerpt from a novel published in 1913 Entre deux âmes (1913) by the successful author Delly (i.e. Jeanne-Marie Petitjean de La Rosière and Frédéric Petitjean de La Rosière):

De tous les hommes qui étaient là, aucun ne pouvait se vanter d’égaler quelque peu l’être d’harmonieuse beauté et de suprême élégance qu’était Élie de Ghiliac. Ce visage aux lignes superbes et viriles, au teint légèrement mat, à la bouche fine et railleuse, cette chevelure brune aux larges boucles naturelles, ces yeux d'un bleu sombre, dont la beauté était aussi célèbre que les œuvres de M. de Ghiliac , et la haute taille svelte, et tout cet ensemble de grâce souple, de courtoisie hautaine, de distinction patricienne faisaient de cet homme de trente ans un être d'incomparable séduction. (Delly 1913, 6f.)

Obviously the narrator wanted to create an outstanding personality in a no less exquisite society. But just as obviously the linguistic means with which Delly wants to implement this claim produce the opposite effect. The overload with adjectives of the extraordinary make the extraordinary appear ordinary, while the extensive use of superlatives undermines the credibility of the text and creates an unwanted alienation effect. The intention of the text to create extraordinary figures in an extraordinary world is thus counteracted by the trivial form. The text makes use of a number of stereotypes and clichés instead of describing a special person, while at the same time trying to conceal the discrepancy between claim and implementation by an accumulation of hyperbolas in order not to dull the reader's interest. All the conditions of the lie would thus be fulfilled.

By problematizing the form, the examined example of kitsch and literature in general makes a decisive contribution to the re-perspective and expansion of the general theory of lies. Because it reveals a hidden, because it seems natural, premise of the categorical condemnation of lies. This is based on the premise that we are always able to adequately translate our opinions into expressions. Literary works, however, move the issue of expression and design into the center of attention. They show that utterances, language and forms are by no means always freely available. Words can be missing, distort or even falsify thoughts. Literature extends the theory of lies to include the possibility of an objective, linguistically conditioned lie in which opinion and expression diverge, despite the speaker's best intentions to be truthful.

For the theory of the literary lie in the narrower sense, the investigation of Je m’en vais and the kitsch example valuable information. It shows that the literary lie implies a certain ethic of aesthetics which specifies the general moral imperative of truthfulness in a special way.21 The postulate of authenticity functions as a yardstick for condemning kitsch and literary lies. This constitutes a categorical imperative of the aesthetics of modernity, which calls on every author to avoid imitations and to develop a new form that is appropriate to the respective situation.22 If modernity can be described as a literary historical epoch of a permanent movement that results from the destruction of traditional and the creation of new forms, from the ceaseless search for new representation techniques to express the present moment in an authentic form, then literature is actually capable of lying. Whenever a text is not able to correspond to its own fictional reality through a coherent form, it produces aesthetic lies, of which the kitsch, which Hermann Broch in a famous lecture as "the evil in the value system of art" (Broch 1968, 128), only the most visible manifestation is. In Delly's case, the aesthetic lie arises from the divergence between the claim of the novel and the inability of the author to create a narrative form that can satisfy this claim. But a literary lie can also be assessed where the form of the traditional novel itself prevents the author from giving adequate expression to the fictional world he has designed. With this phenomenon a whole tradition of language and genre criticism is addressed, which is reflected in Nietzsches Truth and lie in a non-moral sense (Nietzsche 1873) as well as in Hugo von Hoffmansthals A letter from Lord Chandos (1902) or in the inaugural lecture given by Roland Barthes at the Collège de France, in which he expresses the charge that the language is simply fascist (Barthes 1978, 14). As early as the 1950s, the young Roland Barthes had in Le degré zéro de la litterature accuses the traditional novel itself of falsehood and lies. According to Roland Barthes, that form passé simple, the narrative in the third person and the teleological structure of the novel create a novel code that forces the novelist to use an obsolete and mendacious form: “On s'explique alors ce que le passé simple du Roman a d'utile et d 'intolérable: il est un mensonge manifesté ”(Barthes 1972, 29). The conventional novel thus obliges the novelist to utter a literary lie that betrays his own convictions and aesthetic intentions. The romanesque spelling is seen as a kind of literary fatality that leads directly to an aesthetic lie, regardless of the author's intentions. In this way, Roland Barthes developed a term in the field of aesthetics that Walter Benjamin had outlined on the socio-political level a few years earlier in an essay that had remained fragmentary. Benjamin speaks there of the "objective mendacity", which consists in a comprehensive structure and exists quite independently of the individual intentions of an individual. According to Benjamin, the individual can be “bona fide” and still utter an objective lie. (Benjamin 1985, 60)

In an essay entitled L’ère du soupçon