ABSTRACT. The collapse of the lines between reality and fiction occurs from the beginning of the novella when we see that Norbert Hanold is willing to take a fiction for reality, even though an intangible one. This inability to understand the domain of fiction is what plunges Norbert Hanold in a delusion which could have cost him his mental health. In a manner typical for the researchers of the time, he takes one sign for a whole demonstration of fact: he takes Gradiva’s right foot position as the unmistakable sign of her identity as the woman who had died hundreds of years before in Pompeii. Although reality seems to want to impose itself on him, he seems unwilling to let go of his delusion and believes, until the last moment, that he is conversing with a woman resurrected from the dead. This delusion is half-supported by his childhood Zoe, who patiently sees himself through his delirium. Gradiva, now coming complete with Teodora Cosman’s illustrations, problematizes representation from the point of view of the fictionality/referentiality relation, in the interval between the two of them, being neither fully fictional nor fully referential – as part of a bas-relief which has lost its original context and therefore cannot be fully attributed to a given repertoire. We might take the hints from Jensen’s text and say that Gradiva is associated with the cult of Mars or with the cult of Apollo but these references are mere conjectures. pp. 19–26

Keywords: Gradiva; Jensen; representation; Freud; reality; fiction

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Faculty of Letters,
Department of Applied Modern Languages,
University of Pitești

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