The role of clothing in the pre-bourgeois ambience of Kersnik’s novels


 Ana Perović University of Maribor, Slomškov trg 15, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia



 The article focuses on the analysis of women’s and men’s clothing appearances in the pre-bo-urgeois ambience of Kersnik’s novels. Particular clothing items and clothing appearances indicate the presence of specifi c spiritual and social characteristics, typical for the cultural and historical environment in which the two literary works were created. The methodological approach of the analysis in terms of theory is based on general semiotic theory (Eco, Lotman), cultural semiotics (Barthes), literary theory and literary history, Lotman’s symbol theory, clothing culture, discourse analysis and Bourdieu’s theory of habitus. The article discusses separately the clothing appearan-ces of male and female characters. The descriptions of clothing appearances reveal the socio-histo-rical background of the literary works as well as many other abstract categories such as characters’ mental states, their ideologies, political beliefs, positive and negative character attributes as well as their moral virtues and vices. Clothes as part of the pre-bourgeois habitus try to establish a balance between the urban and the rural, between prestige and humility, between refi nement and coar-seness. Irony is often a result of the contrast between the physical determinants and the associate variable, i.e. the clothing. The author uses a range of various clothing appearances to characterize and mock different classes of people; the trivial conversations about fashion denote the banality of social life; the differences between the “true” bourgeoisie and those who strive to reach and fi t into that social class are already strongly indicated in the descriptions of their external appearances.


Key words:

 Janko Kersnik, habitus, bourgeoisie, semiotic theory, cultural semiotics, clothing culture


  DOI: 10.15503/jecs20131-267-280


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