THE READING GAME
Fiction possesses a “dialogic” dimension, a relationship that establishes among the various voices which compete for dominance in a text. And it is not seldom that voices in fictional texts derive their vocabularies from the language of games and play. Readers and critics have not always been concerned with the clash of words among other words. The novel as a genre has, traditionally, seemed to be concerned more with character and event than with linguistic nuances. The fictional imagery is pervasively, obsessively visual; the Realist text (isn’t realism one of the main ingredients of the novelistic universe?) seems to resist linguistic games, innuendoes and word play.
The relationship desire/play is relevant for the relationship desire/ language because language is deeply rooted in the instinctual impulses of life. The initial desire for someone or something links sounds in language to objects in the material world. Language therefore depends on the order created by the satisfaction of the above mentioned desire. The playfulness of language depends on more elements than a number of prescribed techniques.
A ludic written text invites the reader to participate in the game it generates. A writer usually invites the reader’s co-participation in the play of style. Much of the literature that can be characterized as playful originates in the ambiguity of language while producing meaning. Indeed, playful language is neither strictly bound to rules, nor excessively literal. An author willing to recourse to the power of play does not intend to deceive the reader permanently. If the challenge of a text is too engaging, the reader may refuse to play the game, and this is a risk that any writer takes whenever he tries to compete with his reader.