In the last decades of the 20th century the novels of authors like Jean Echenoz, Copi (Raúl Damonte’s pseudonym), Jean-Philippe Toussaint and César Aira, among with some others with similar aesthetics, renewed the way in which novels were being written. This renewal confronts us with two aspects of a broader challenge. First, as these writers have different cultural backgrounds, it is necessary to choose a methodology that spans cultural frames; and second, this methodology must be able to encompass several observations identified separately.
Following the scientific contributions of Yuri Lotman, literature can be considered as a language (more exactly, a secondary modeling system) and placed in the semiosphere, where it interacts and shares space with other systems. The attributes and dynamics of the semiosphere explain the development and relations of different semiotic systems. Assuming literature as a semiotic system serves two purposes. First, it provides a common space for multiple texts; world literature is placed in this topological space and interacts with multiple systems. And second, the mechanisms of renewal of semiotic systems are entirely applicable to literature.
Taking into account those mechanisms of renewal, we introduce four processes to analyze the renewal observable in the work of the authors we consider. First: code alterations. When the use of codes differs from previous uses, the conventionality of the code is questioned and its informativity grows. Second: innovative intersections. The co-presence of elements from different subsystems stimulates recodifications, alters borders and dismantles inner hierarchies. Third: confrontation with other arts. When faced with other artistic languages, literature can translate elements from them and suggest the incorporation of some of their codes. Simultaneously, because not everything can be translated from one language into another, literature employs this tension and makes full use of some of its exclusive characteristics. And fourth: procedures for explosion. Explosion designates the moment in which elements alien to a system burst in and trigger new dynamics. A procedure for explosion aims to identify new elements and incorporate them within a text.