RIMMON-KENAN.shlomith Narrative.fiction Contemporary.poetics 1e

August 27, 2017 | Author: Shivani Shingari Budhiraja | Category: Narrative, Object (Grammar), Plot (Narrative), Subject (Grammar), Sentence (Linguistics)
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NEW ACCENTS General Editor Terence Hawkes

'This is a well-organized and cogently argued book.' Choice

Newspaper reports, history books, novels, films, comic strips, pantomime. dance, gossip and psychoanalytic sessions are only some of the narratives which permeate our lives. One type of narrative comprises the subject of this

book-'narrative fiction' whether in the form of novel. shon Story or narrative


What is a namtive? What is namove fiction? How does it differ from other kinds of narrative? What features turn a discourse into a narrative text? By

turning her anention to these and other questions Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan



synthesis of contemporary approaches to narrative fiction,

considering in panicular Anglo-American New Criticism, Russian Formalism. French Structuralism, the Td-Aviv School of Poetics and the Phenomenology of Reading. In contrast to other studies. Nammv( Fiction is organized around the issues

involved- for example, events. timc, focaliz.ation, characterization, narration.

the text and its reading- rather than the individual theoristS or approaches. By following such a course Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan is able to offer somc persona) views on ;md modifications to the theories and, while presenting an analysis and

a description of the system governing all fictional namtives, she also suggestS

how individual narratives can be studied against the background of this general

system. To illustrate the many aspects of her study, numerous examples are drawn from texts of different periods and national literarures. ShIomith Rimmon-Kenan is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the Hebrew Universiry, Jerusalem. Literature

11 New Fetter Lane London EC4P 4EE

29 West 35th Street New York NY 10001


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NARRATIVE FICTION cont�mporary poetICS Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan



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Narration: speech representation


The text and its reading


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General editor's preface




How can we recognise or deal with the new? Any equipment we bring to the task will have been designed to engage with the old: it will look for and identify extensions and develop­ ments of what we already know. To some degree the unprece­ dented will always be unthinkable. The New Accents series has made its own wary negotiation around that paradox, turning it, over the years, into the . central concern of a continuing project. W.e are obliged, of course, to be bold. Change is our proclaimed business, inno­ vation our announced quarry, the accents of the future the language in which we deal. So we have sought, and still seek, to confront and respond to those developments in literary studies that seem crucial aspects of the tidal waves of transformation that continue to sweep across our culture. Areas such as structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, marxism, semiotics, subculture, deconstruction, dialogism, post-modernism, and the new attention to the nature and modes of language, politics and way of life that these bring, have already been the primary concern of a large number of our volumes. Their 'nuts and bolts' exposition of the issues at stake in new ways of writing texts and new ways of reading them has proved an effective stratagem against perplexity. But the question of what 'texts' are or may be has also become more and more complex. It is not just the impact of


Narrative Fiction: Conte mporary Poetics

electronic modes of com munication, such as com puter net­ works and data banks, that has forced us to rev ise our sense of the sort of m terial t �l ? which the process called 'reading' may apply. Satellite televISI. on and supersonic trav el have eroded t e tra itional �pacities of time and space to confirm preju­ dIce, remforce Ignora nce, and conceal sign ificant difference. Ways of life and cultur al practices of which we had barely heard can now be set compellingly beside can even confront - our own. The effect is to make us ponder the culture we hav e inherited; to see it, perhaps for the firs . .. .. t time , as an mtricate, contllluing construction. And tha t means that we can also begin to see, and to question , those arrangements of oregroundi g and bac kgrounding, of stressin � g and repress­ mg, of pJaCI g at the centre and of restricti � ng to the per i­ phery, tha t gIV e our own way of life its distinctive character. Small wonder if, now adays, we frequently find ourselves at the boundaries of the precedented and at the limit of the thinkable: peering into an abyss olit of which there begin to lurch wkwardly-form � ed monsters with una ccountable yet unavOI able - demand s on our attention. Th ese may involve unne:vmg s yles of nar rative, unsettling notion s of 'history', . unphIlosophlcal Ide as about 'philosophy', even un-chiJdish views o ' mics', to say nothing of a host of bar �� ely respect­ able actIvllIes for which . we have no reassuring nam es. In this situation, stra ightforward elucidatio n careful un­ picking, informative bibliographies, can offe r sitive help, and each New AccmJ.s volume will continue to inc lude these. But if the project of closely scrutinising the new remains nonetheless � is nce rting one, there are stiI � J overwhelming reasons for g1Vmg It all the consideration we can muster. The unthinkable, after all, is that which covertl y shapes our thoughts.

Acknowledgemen ts





This book was begun in collaboration with Moshe Ron who, unfortunately, had to withdraw in a fa rly earl s age. In x � addition to specific sections based on hIS contrIbution and acknowledged throughout the book, I am al o grateful for his � participation in planning the over 1 conceptlo , for n merous � � stimulating discussions of the poetIcs of narrative fiction, and for his scrupulous and perceptive comments on a large part of the manuscript. Thanks are also due to Joseph Ewen, Ru h � . Ginsburg, Harai Golomb, Baruch Hochman, BenJam �n Hrushovski, Joyce MiHer and Myriam Sa y, whose help III � clarifying my thinking on various issues was mvaluable. Profes­ sor Terence Hawkes, the general editor of this series, has done _ much to improve the readability of my text. To Ruth an I'Ijatan Nevo I am indebted for constant encouragement .III times of frustration. I also wish to thank Sylvia Farhi, in whom I found not only an excellent typist but also a wonderful person. Ov r � the years I have been helped and challenged by students III vario us courses I have taught on the subject. To all of them I am grateful. The author and publisher would like to thank Faber & Faber Ltd and Harcourt Brace JovanO\-;ch, Inc. for permission to reproduce four lines from 'Little Gidding' in Four Quarle/s, copyright 1943 by T. S. Eliot; renewed 1971 by Esme Valerie Eliot.

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Newspaper.reports, history

books, novels, films, comic strips,

pantomime, dance, gossip, psychoanalytic sessions are only some of the narratives which permeate our l ives. One species of narrative will be the subject of this book: the species called 'narr(!.tive fiction', whether in the form of novel, short story or narrative poem. But what is a narrative? What makes the following limerick a narrative? There was a young lady of Niger \Nho smiled as she rode on a tiger. They returned from the ride With the lady inside And the smile on the face of the tiger. How can we differentiate between this limerick and the follow­ ing discourse? Roses are red Violets are blue Sugar is sweet And so are you. Why isn't the latter a narrative? And what is narrative fiction? How does it differ from other kinds of narrative? In what sense is a newspaper report. like


Narrative Fic tio n: Co nte mporary Poetics

'Yesterday a store in Ox ' ford Street wa bumed out a narrative but not narrative fiction ?. What are the � leatures that tum a "; b·ven d"ISCOurse mto a narrati ve text?. What are the baSlC ' aspects of narrative fiction an d h w do t�ey interact v.-ith each other? How does one mak � a specIfic narrative tex t, and how can it be described t

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These and other quest' . ons I'11 be onslder ed in some detail W throughout this book � . � l h lpfu l to begi with � W working definitions of ? e ey . s the tltie,thus provldmg a framework for further dell 'berat'Ions. . P oencs IS .


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the systematic stud� o f literature as literat " ure. It deals with th . e questlon What IS . literature?' and with all P:'SSI'ble ques­ tlons developed from . it, such as.' What IS art ill lang ? Wh a forms and kinds of lite rature? What is the n. of o e ��t �ry genre or trend? What is th . e system 0f a particular poet's 'art . ' or 'Iangua ge '? . H ow IS a story made? What are the speciii c aspects of works of lit erature.? How are they constituted? How d0 1"t I erary texts embody 'non -literary' phenomena? etc

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1976b, p. xv)

By 'narrative fiction' I mean the narratl. n of a succession of fictional events. Self-ev . . defiD�lno ident as thIS n may seem, .It eve r ele ss implies certain pOsitio � . ns w't 1 h regard to som e baSIC ISsues ill poetics To be" b·;n WI'th,the tenn narrat . ion suggests ( I ) a communication process in which th n a s s a es r o add ess e a ( h ve � u ns t the mes age It is : this that � I distinguishes narrati � ve fic on rom narratlve s 10 other media such as film' danee, or . pantom.ime. I ' . Th e defimtion furthe sugg sts I110� narrative fict ion differs from other literary tex ' suc �. as yn cal poetry or expository prose. Unlike the latt . er rat ve tl e of events (Tomashevsky' � � l �. � �g.present� a Succession pub!. In Russian � ' 1925). At this early stage o ·o dISCUsslon, an event ma y be defined v.ithout great ' n gour as som ething that happens, som th·109 that can be sum e­ med up by a verb or a name of action (e g a ride - perh aps on a . tlger). Although single -event narrati\;e

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ar e theoretically (and perhaps also empirically) possible (see chapter 2), I speak of a succession of events in order to suggest that narratives usually consist of more than one. Thus the lady in the limerick first rides on a tiger, then returns in it.

Finally, the main interest of this book is in narratives of events. This is why I shall not consider here non­ fictional verbal narratives, like gossip, legal testimony, news reports, history books,autobiography, personal letters,etc. The fictional status of events is, I believe, a pragmatic issue. It is arguable that history books,news reports, autobiography are in some sense no less fictional than what is conventionally classi­ fied as such. In fact. some of the procedures used in the analysis of fiction may be applied to texts conventionally defined as 'non-fiction'. Nevertheless, since such texts will also have characteristics specific to them, they are beyond the scope of


this book.

The foregoing definition of narrative fiction also gives rise to a classification of its basic aspects: the events, their verbal rep­ resentation, and the act- of telling or writing. In the spirit of Genette's distinction between 'histoire', 'ridl' and 'narration' (1972, pp. 71-6), I shall label these aspects 'story', 'text' and 'narration'respectively.2 . 'Story'designates the narrated events, abstracted from their disposition in the text and reconstructed in their chronological order,together with the participants in these events. Whereas 'story' is a succession of events,'text' is a spoken or written discourse which undertakes their telling. Put more simply, the text is what we read. In it, the events do not necessarily appear in chronological order. the characteristics of the participants are dispersed throughout, and all the items of the narrative content are filtered through some prism or per­ spective ('focalizer'). Since the text is a spoken or written discourse, "it implies someone who speaks or writes it. The act or process of pro­ duction is the third aspect - 'narration'. Narration can be considered as both real and fictional. In the empirical world, the

author is the agent responsible f or the production of the narra­ tive and for its communication. The empirical process of com­ munication, however, is less relevant to the poetics of narrative fiction than its counterpart within the text. Within the text,

4 ' Narrative Fiction: Co ntemporary Poetic

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communication involv es a ,fictional narrato r transmitting a narrative to a fictional narratec. Of the three aspects of narrative fiction, the tex t is the only one directly available to the reader. It is throug h the text that he or she acquires knowle dge of the story (its obj ect) and of the narration (the proces s of its production). On the other hand, however, the narrative text is itself defined by these two other aspects: unless it told a story it would not be a narrative, and without being narrated or written it would not be a text. Indeed, story and narration ma y be seen as two meton ymies of the text, the first evoking it thr ough its narrative con tent, the second through its production .3 The relations among the aspects will be emphasized throughou t this study, and the asp ects themselves will inform the divisio n into chapters. Thus far I have sugges ted preliminary answer s to all but the last two questions set forth in the beginning of tbis introduction. These two questions diff er from the others in tha t they concern the specificity of ind ividual texts rather tha n characteristics common to all works of narrative fiction Indeed, the co­ . presence of these two typ es of question is indicat ive of the double purpose of this book. On the one hand, I wis h to present a description of the system governing all fictional narratives. On the other hand, I hop e to indicate a wa y in wb ich individual narratives can be stu died as unique realiza tion s of the general system . This double orientation 'calls for a mixture of theoretical considerations and illu strations from works of nar rati ve fiction. Of COurse, some issues are more amenable to illu stration while others necessitate a mo re abstract discussion. The distribution of examples will var y accordingly. For rea son s of space and variety, I do not analyse any text in full but pre fer a discussion of extracts from many texts, deriving from var ious periods and various national literatu res. Some examples are repeated in different contexts. Thi s is done not only for the sak e of reinforce­ ment but also in order to emphasize that textua l segments are junctions of various com positional principles, not ready-made examples of any one principle to the exclusi on of others (although a predominance of one is obviously possibl e). Analy­ sis require s emphasis On the issuc under conside ration, but texts are richer than anythin g such an isolation of asp ects can yield.

I ntroduction



" upon Anglo-American New My presentatIon d�aws e h Structuralism, the Tel-AvIv F s orma an F h cism , Russi . � enology of Reading. H�wever , he the cs and oetI . . School of� to 'schools' or mdIV1�u� is not structured according the book . . examp1e. Hawkes 1977)'. Rather, It is theoretICIanS (as, for ' (e.. g tia'speci.fica of narratIve fieUon r.r difJ t nd h aro ed u or ganiz � ! lIer for vea here led re n predilectio he events" t ime narration ) . . selectIon f speo'fic aspects . certain approaches s. well as the 0 : l stand on the vanous from each �ppr�ac I PIy a persona ined to tacit implication: on the issues. Nor is thIS stru;tr, conf . ItseIf in explicit comments on and contrary, I't often mam.ests . hich are brought together. Yet eones t h the modifications of theory. Indeed the tension �'nal �ffer not d�es this book theories and a presentation of between an mtegr�tlOn 0 s one 0f the �meVJ'table frustrations of any ' a personal VJew • s. S' mil ly it was necessary to extract the 1 synthesI attempt at � without presenting the theory relevant pomts fro� eac . lications. It is hoped that the as a whole or followmg all of Its I � e to explore this field, and contInu to ged d will b e encoura s:�oing to fill in some of these lacunae.

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Story: events I

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The question of the story's autonom y


r. • of abstractm. 2 The theoretical possibility lor arrauve . .. lfltwuve skill 0f the to s correspond obably r form . §toryp . cessmg ston'es'. being able to re-tell them, to recog. same story m ,1r:Pro vanants 0f the same story,to identify the · d lum, and so on. It .is this intuition that has led ""'." OUfl'.Gl me . VI adim'Ir Propp' s f40otn arratologist followmg m ��':,';aJm'Ob";.



hailing pa re nts)

adoption (i.t',

good state:

The plol OfSophocles ' Oedipus Rex according to Bremond's method (slightly modified)

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Story: events


state of another. Note that events affecting more than two characters seem to require additional axes. In the charts the number of axes is kept down by disregarding the perspectives of minor, although functional, characters like the shepherd and the messenger, and by inserting a third and fourth perspective horizontally as a pis"aller. According to Bremond, all sequences, at least all macro­ sequences, are either of improvement or of deterioration. An improvement sequence begins with a lack or a disequilibrium (e.g. a lack of a wife) and finally establishes equilibrium (e.g. finding a wife: marriage). This can be the end of the story, but when it is not, the equilibrium is disturbed (e.g. the wife runs away) , and a process of deterioration follows. Reaching its rock bottom stage (e.g. divorce) , this can give rise to further im­ provement (finding a new wife), and so on ad infinitum (at least in theory) . Thus the first chart begins with a good state (Laius possesses both life and wife) and ends with a bad one (Laius dies) . The second chart does the reverse (i.e. it begins with Thebes being harassed by the sphinx and ends with the defeat of the sphinx), and the third again begins with bad (plague) and ends with good ( the city is saved) . However, it should be noted that i n ambiguous plots i t may be impossible to classify states neatly into 'good' and 'bad'. Having presented a few deep-structure and a few surface­ structure models, the time has come to say that a complete model should also include the transformations leading from the former to the latter. Some work along these lines has been done (e.g. by Doleiel 1 97 J , and Greimas J 976), but further develop­ ment is clearly called for. Even less work has been done on the transition from narrative structures to linguistic structures (if indeed there is such a transi tion) . Thus Greimas:

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11 I '

I t is the passage from level three where narrative objects are located to level two upon which linguistic discourses organNolrj : ( I ) Chart I I I represents action taking place on stage, I and I I past events reveal rd during the stage action. Chart I and somc aspects of I I could possibly be rmbt"dded in I I I under 'process of obtaining evidence', (2) For clarity's sake t llt'se charts disng ard certain character perspectivcs and the sequences that go wi t h them (Creon, Shepherd. �lessengerl. (3) This mt"thod cannot represent characters' awareness of the significance of events or any modalities of know­ ledgt". Consequently Chart I I I ignores Thiresias and his prophecy. (4) This method does not strictly represent relations of succession and simultaneity between t"vents,

. !


Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

ized by narrativity are unravelled that the greatest difficulties in i nterpretation arise. ( 1 97 1 , p. 797) I am not at all convinced that, from the reader's perspective, the passage from s urface lingu istic structures ( I ) to surface narra­ tive structures (3) necessarily leads through deep linguistic structures (2 ) . Several years ago a review of the state of the art concluded:

3 S tory: characters

Despite the variety of models, there is as yet no clear method of traversing the path from the concrete text to the abstract narrative structure, without either quantitative or q ualitative gaps intervening. (Lipski 1 976, P. 202) To my knowledge, the situation has not changed significantly to date.


Whereas the study of the story's events and the links among them has been developed considerably in contemporary p0etics, that of character has not. I ndeed, the elaboration of a systematic, non-reductive but also non-impressionistic theory of character remains one of the challenges poetics has not yet met. My own contribution, however, falls short of this goal, and in the present chapter I shall indicate why this is so. The death of character?

In addition to pronouncements about the death of God, the death of humanism, the death of tragedy, our century has also heard declarations concerning the death of character. 'What is obsolescent in today's novel', says Barthes, 'is not the novelistic, it is the character; what can no longer be written is the Proper Name' ( 1 974, p. 95· Orig. pub!. in French 1 970) . Various features which had been considered the hallmarks of character. modelled on a traditional view of man. were denied to both by many modern novelists. Thus Alain Robbe-Grillet ( 1 963, pp. 3 1-3) rejected 'the archaic myth of depth' and with it the psychological conception ofcharacter. Objecting not only to the notion of psychological depth bu t also to the corollary one of individuality. Nathalie Sarraute focused on an 'anonymous', 'pre-human' stra tum underlying all individual variations. Her





, I

reader, she hoped , would be ' plunged and remain i m mersed to the end in a s u bstance as a nonymous as blood, in a magma






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Narrative Fiction: C on temporary Poetics

, Story: characters

ri chly d elinea ted autono mous wholes, clearly distinguished from others by physical and psychological characteristics. The noti on of character. s tructuralists would say. is a myth. (Culler 1 975, p. 2 30)

without name, without contour' ( 1 965, p . 74. Orig. p u b J . 1 956. My transla tio n ) . A nd q u i te a bit earlier, in his 1 9 1 4 letter to

Edward Garne t t ,

D. H . Lawrence protested against ' the old­

But is character as 'dead '

fashioned h u m a n element" and declared:

I don ' t so m u ch care about what the woman feels



in the

( i n Aldous Huxley ( ed . )

all that?

Do the new views

nevertheless leaving some COnstitutive characteristics recogniz­ able ? Isn'tJoyce's Bloom a c haracter in some sense of the word? And do not even the minimal d epersonalized characters of some mod em fiction 'deserve' a non-reductive theory which will

what she I S -

inhumanly. physiologically, m a terially . . . .


dispense with i t al toge � her, or do they on l Y dis � antle a certain . traditiona l concept of It? Can the changmg notIOns be seen as

ordinary usage of the word. That presumes an ego to feel with. I only care about what the woman is

1 932, p . 1 98)

adequately account for their place and functioning within the

Together with the rejection of individuality i n favour of 'carbon ' , the underlying non-h uman, quasi-chemical element,

narrative network? Moreover, even if we grant the 'death' of character in contemporary literature, can we also retrospec­ tively 'kill' him in nineteenth-century fiction? Should a non­

Lawrence also substituted for the notion of the persistence of traits that of . allotropic states ', thus calling i n to q u estion the

human ist, an ti-bourgeois i d eology (even if i t is accepted) lead us to ignore that which is p l ainly central in a given corpus of narratives? The developmen t of a theory of character, I believe,

belief in the ego's stability.' Additional conceptions of change and diversity replaced the notion of stability i n the writing of other modem novelists. Virginia Woolf, for example, saw

has been i m peded not only by the ideology ofthis or that 'school ' of poetics, or this or that ' fashion' in literature, but by more

character (and life i n general) as a flux and wanted to ' record the as they fall upon the m i n d ' ( 1 953, pp. J 53-5 . Orig. pub!. 1 925). And Helene Cixous q uestions not only the stabili ty but


basic problems to which I now turn.

also the u n i ty of the self. The '1 ' , according to her, is 'always

The mode of existence of character: two problems

more than one, d iverse, capable of being al l those it will at one time be. a group acting together'


( 1 974, p . 387). If the seif is a

People or word.r?

constant flux or i f i t is a 'group acting together ' , the concept of character changes or d isappears, the 'old stable ego' disinte­

1 96 1 Marvin Mudrick had formulated the two extreme views of character s uggested in the title of this section, and discerned a shift from o n e to the other which has become much more conspicuous since he wrote:

Already in

grates. C haracter, then, is pronounced 'dead' by many mod ern writers. Nails are added to i ts coffin by various contem porary theorists. Struct uralists can hardly accommodate character

One of the recurring anxieties of l iterary critics concerns the

within their theories, because of their commitment to an ideo­ logy which 'decentres' m a n and runs counter to the notions of

way in which a character in drama or fiction may be said to exist . The 'purist' argumen t - i n the ascendancy nowadays among critics - points out that characters do not exist at all

individuality and psychological depth:2 Stress on the i n terpersonal and conventional systems which

except i nsofar as they are a part of the images and events which bear and move the m, [hat any effort to extract them from their con text and to discuss tbem as if they are real

traverse the i n d ividual, w h i ch make him a space i n which

forces and ·eve n t s meet rather than an individuated essence.

h uman beings is a sentimental misunderstanding of (he n a ture of li terature. The ' r ealistic' a rgument - on the defen-

leads to a rej ection of a prevalent conception of charactf'r in the novel: that the most successful and 'li\ing' characters are



Story: characters

Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics


textu alized. In the course ofthe analysis, he makes the following provocative statement: 'Emma Woodhouse is not a woman nor n eed be described as ifit were' ( 1 979, p. 1 87. The 'if, of course,

sive nowadays - i nsists that characters acquire, in the course of an action, a kind 9f independence from the events in which they live, and that they can be usefully discussed at some distance from their context. (p. 2 I I )

is telling) . . . Whereas in m i metic theories (i . e. theOries which conSIder literature as, in some sense, an imitation of reality) chara�ters . are equated with people, in semiotic theories they dIssolve l?tO textuality. What remains? I f both approaches end up ca� celhng the specificity of fictional characters, though from dIfferent standpoints, should the study of character be abandoned, or . should both approaches be rejected and a different perspective .

As emerges from Mudrick's statement, the so-called 'realistic' argument sees characters as imitations of people and tends to treat them - with greater or lesser sophistication - as if they were

our n eighbours or friends, whilst also abstracting them from the verbal texture of the work under consideration. Such an approach, of which B radley's analyses of Shakespeare's charac­ ters ( 1 965. Orig. pu bl. 1 904) is perhaps the best known ex­ ample, tends to speculate about the characters' unconscious motivations and even constructs for them a past and future beyond what is specified in the text.' A position of this kind facilitates the construction of a theory of character because i t legitimizes the transference o f ready-made theories from psychology or psychoanalysis. However, it is precisely for this reason that such an analysis fails to discover the differentia specifica of characters in narrative fiction. That the differentia specijica are of a verbal and non-re­


sought? Can such a perspective reconcile the two oppose positions witlwut 'destroying' character between them? Is It possible to see characters 'at once as p ersons �nd as parts ?f a . . . design' (Price 1 968, p. 2go) ? I thmk It IS, prOVIded one re ahzes . that the two extreme positions can be thought of as relatmg to different aspects of narrative fiction. In the text charact� r� are nodes in the verbal design; i n the story they are - by defimtlon ­ non (or pre-) verbal abstractions, constructs. Although these constructs are by no means human beings in the literal sense of the word, they are partly modelled on the reader's conception of people and in this they are person-like : . Similarly, i n the text, characters are mextrIcable from the re� t of the design, whereas in the story they are ext�acted from theIr . textuality. This not only follows from the defimtlon of story but is also borne out by experience:

presentational order is what the so-called ' purist' (nowadays we would probably say 'semiotic') argument emphasizes. An ex­

treme formulation of this argument, however, assimilates character to other verbal phenomena in the text to the extent of destroying its specificity in its own way:

The equation of characters with 'mere words' .is wron � on other grounds. Too many mimes, too many captlonless SIlent films, too many ballets have shown the folly of s�:h a restriction. Too often do we recall fictional characters VIVIdly, yet not a single word of the text in which they came alive; indeed, I venture to say that readers generally remember characters tha t way. (Chatman 1 978, p. 1 ( 8)

Under the aegis of semiotic criticism, characters lose their privilege, their central status, and their definition. This does not mean that they are metamorphosed into inanimate things (a la Robbe-Grillet) or reduced to actants (a la Todorov) but that they are textualized. As segments of a closed text, characters at most are patterns of recurrence. motifs which are continually recontextualized in other motifs. In semiotic criticism, characters dissolve. (Weinsheimer 1 979, p. 1 95)

Morrover. as abstractions from the text. character names often serve as 'labels' for a trait or cluster of traits characteristic of non-fictional human beings. c.g. 'he is a Hamlet'. Even Wcin­ sheimcr, whose extreme, one-sided view was quoted above, ends his article with a recognition of the complex status of

T o demonstrate h i s point, Weinsheimer analyses the ways i n

which Jane Austen' s Emma, traditionally considered one of the most 'person-like' characters in English literature, is

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34 i , i :. .,

Na r rati ve Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

Story: characters

character. He now talks a bout 'the textualized perso.ns, per­ sonified texts that are characters' (p. 208) .

Being or doing











receiver opponent

The same aclanl can be manifested by more than one acleur, and the same acteur can be assigned to more than one actant. To illustrate: i n the sentence ' Pierre and Paul give an apple to Mary ' , Pierre and Paul - two acleurs - are one actant: sender, Mary is another: receiver. The apple is the object (Hamon 1 9 77, p. 1 37. Orig. pubI. 1 972).' On the other hand, in the sentence 'Pierre buys himself a coat', one acteur ( Pierre) functions as two actants (sender and receiver). It is not only so-called traditional critics who tend to reverse the hierarchy between action and character discussed above: some structuralists also envisage this possibility. Thus whereas in 1 966 Barthes clearly s ubordinates character to action (pp. 1 5- 1 8) , in 1 970 he gives character a separate code ( the semic code) and even ponders the possibility that 'what is proper to narrative is not action but the character as a Proper Name' ( 1 974, p. 1 3 1 ) .; And Ferrara attempts to construct a model for a structural analysis of narrative fiction with character as the central notion:

Another problem is the subordination of character to action or its relative independence of it. Aristotle, it is known, believed characters to be necessary only as 'agents' or 'performers' of the action ( 1 95 I , p. 34) , a view shared by formalists and structur­ alists of our own century. though for different reasons. In addition to the decentring of man discussed above, methodo­ logical considerations also lead to such subordination. Like any scientifically oriented discipline, formalist and structuralist poetics recognizes the methodological necessity of reduction. especially in preliminary phases of an inquiry. Since action seems more easily amenable to the construction of 'narrative grammars' (often based on verb-cen tred grammars of na tural languages) , it is convenient to reduce character to action - at least in the first stage. Thus Propp ( 1 968. Orig. pub!. in Russian 1 928) subordinates characters to 'spheres of action' within which their performance can be categorized according to seven general roles: the villain, the donor, the helper, the sought-for-person and her father, the dispatcher, the hero and the false hero. In a given narrative, a character may perform more than one role (e,g. Magwitch in Great Expectations first appears as villain, later as donor and helper) and conversely. a role may be fulfilled by more than one character (e.g. there is more than one villain in Great Expec­ talions) . I n a similar vein. Greimas ( 1 966, 1 973, 1 979) indicates the subordination of characters by calling them ·aclanls' . I n fact he distinguishes between 'acleur' and 'aclant', but both are c�n­ ceived of as accomplishing or submitting to an act ( 1 979, p. 3) and both can include not only human beings (i.e. 'characters' ) but also inanimate objects (e.g. a magic ring) and abstract con­ cepts (e.g. destiny) . The difference between [he two is that art­ ants are general categories underling all narratives (and not only narratives) whilr arteurs are i nvested with specific quali­ ties in different narrativt's. Thus, arteurs are numerous. where­ as the number of ac/ants is reduced to six in Greimas's �odel :

In fiction the character is used as the structuring element: the objects and the events offiction exist - in one way or another­ because of the character and, in fact, it is only in relation to it that they possess those qualities of coherence and plausibility which make them meaningful and comprehensible. ( 1 974, p. 252) Can the opposed views be reconciled? Again I would answer in the positive. for several reasons. First, instead of subordinat­ ing character to action or the other way round. it may be possi blr- to consider Lhe two as interdependent. This indeed is the thrust of Henry James's famous dictum: 'What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illu stration of character?' ( 1 963, p. 80. Orig. pub!. 1 884) . The forms of this interdependence. however, remain to be analysed. Second. the opposed subordinations can br taken as rdative to typrs of narrative rather than as absolute hierarchit's. Tht'Tr are narratives in which character predominates (so-called

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Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

psychological narratives) and others in which action does (a­ psychological n a rrat ives) (Todorov 1 977. p. 67. Orig. pub\. in French 1 97 1 ) . Raskolnikov's actions serve mainly to character­ ize him. whereas Sinbad's 'character' exists only for the sake of the action. Between the twO extremes, there are - of course different degrees of predominance of one or the other element. Third, the reversibility of h ierarchies may be postulated as a general principle extending beyond the question of genres or types of narrative (Hrushovski 1 974, pp. 2 1-2; 1 9 76a, p. 6). Depending on the element on which the reader focuses his attention, he may at various points subsume the available i nformation under different hierarchies. Thus characters may be subordinated to action when action is the centre of attention, but action can become subordinate to character as soon as the reader's interest shifts to the latter. Different hierarchies may be established in different readings of the same text but also at d ifferent points within the same reading. The reversibility of hierarchies is characteristic not only of ordinary reading but also of l iterary criticism and theory. Hence it is legitimate to subordinate character to action when we study action but equally legitimate to subordinate action to character when the latter is the focus of our study. How is character reconstructed from the text?

I have said above that in the story character is a construct, put together by the reader from various indications dispersed throughout the text.· This 'putting together' or reconstruction is described by Barthes as part of the ' process of nomination' which, in his view, is synonymous with the act of reading: To read is to struggle to name, to subject the sentences of a text to a semantic transformation. This transformation is erratic; it consists in hesitating among several names: if we are told that Sarrasine had ' one of IhOJt strong wills that kllou' no obstacle ' , what are we to read? will, energy. obstinacy, stub bornness, etc.? ( 1 974, p. 92) According to Chat man ( 1 978). who developes Barthes's views in his own way, what is named in the case of character are

Story: characters


personality traits.' ! �de�d , for Chatman chara�ter is a para­ _ digm of tratts, ' tran bemg defined as a 're!atlvely stable or abiding personal quality' and 'paradigm' suggesting that the set of traits can be seen 'metaphorically, as a vertical assemblage intersecting the syntagmatic chain of events that comprise the plot' ( 1 978, p. 1 2 7). Using a linguistic analogy, Chatman describes a trait as 'a narrative adjective tied to the narrative copula' (i.e. the equivalent of the verb 'to be') ( 1 978, p. 1 25) . Thus, 'Sarrasine is feminine', 'Othello is jealous' , are examples of what Chatman calls 'trait'. I t is probably this type of link between the character and the quality that leads Garvey ( 1 978, p. 73 ) to speak of the reconstruction of character in terms of 'attributive propositions'. An attributive proposition, accord­ ing to him, consists of a character's name (or its equivalent), a predicate (e.g. 'insane') and a 'modalizer', indicating degrees and qualifications (e.g. 'questionable', ' to some extent') ( ' 978, P· 73) · The transition from textual element to abstracted trait or attributive proposition is not always and not necessarily as immediate as would seem to emerge from the studies mentioned above. On the contrary, it is often mediated by various degrees of generalization. Following H rushovski (forthcoming), I would like to suggest that the construct called character can be seen as a tree-like hierarchical structure in which elements are assembled i n categories of increasing integrative power.8 Thus an elementary pattern may be established by linking two Or more details within a unifying category, e.g. a character's daily visits to his mother may be grouped together with his daily quarrels with her and generalized as ex's relations with his mother' , perhaps with the additional label 'ambivalence'. But elements can be subordinated to more than one pattern. X's quarrels with his mother, for example, can also be grouped together with his other quarrels (rather than with other mani­ festations of his relations with his mother) and generalized as. say, 'X's fou l temper'. For the moment, however, let us cling to the first pattern. The character's relations with his mother can subsequently be com­ bined with similar generalizations about his relations with his wife, his boss, his friends, to form a higher category labelled 'X's relations with people'. This category in tum can be combined


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N arrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

Story: characters

with other aspects of the same order of generalization , e.g. X ' s worldview, m anner o f speach, actions. These, o f course, are

mis take which the text may have encouraged), or that the ch aracter ' has changed. Such a view allows for a discussion of the ' directional' dimension of character (development, ' bio­ graphy') , whereas Chatman's 'paradigm of traits' makes charac­

not only aspects of character but also poten tial constituents of non-character constructs, such as the work's ideology, style,


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action. I f a common denominator, e.g. am bivalence, emerges from several aspects, i t can then be generalized as a character­ trait, and in a similar way the various traits combine to form the character. A trait is sometimes explicitly mentioned in the text

er categorie$, culminating with the more or less unified con­ struct called 'character'? A fundamental cohesive factor is the

and sometimes not. When it is, the textual label may confirm the

proper name. To q uote Barthes again:

ter a more s t atic construct.9 On what basis are elements combined i n increasingly broad­

one reached i n the process of generalization, but i t may also be

Character is an adjective, an attribute, a predicate . . . Sarra­ sine is the sum, the point of convergence, of: turbulence, artistic

at variance with it, creating tension whose effects vary from one n a rrative to another. To give only one example: 'independence'

gift, independence, excess, femininity, ugliness, composiU nature, im­ pitty, love ofwhittling, will, etc. What gives the illusion that the

is one of the labels constantly mentioned i n connection with


Ir l .:, '

Isabel Archer i n J a mes's The Portrait ofa La4Y ( 1 88 1 ) . However, the reader gradually realizes that this independent lady's career

sum is supplemented by a precious remainder (something like individuality, in that, qualitative and ineffable, it may escape the vulgar bookkeeping of compositional characters)

is actually made u p of a series of unwitting dependences. She depends on M rs Touchett to get her to England, on Ralph's money to be able to establish the kind of life she thinks she

is the Proper Name, the difference completed by what is proper to i t. The proper name enables the person to exist outside the

wants, and on M me Merle and Osmond to become the latter's

semes, whose s u m nonetheless constitu tes it entirely. As soon as a Name exists (even a pronoun to flow toward and fasten

wife. The clash between the textual label and the reader's �,

conclusions adds to the poignancy and i rony ofIsabel's fate. The reader need not always go through all these stages; he

onto), the semes become predicates, ind uctors of truth, and the Name becomes a subject.

can skip a few with the help of a ' hunch ' . Moreover, the

( 1 974, pp. 1 90- 1 )

hierarchy (like all hierarchies, according to Hrushovski) is reversible. Thus, a character's relations with his wife may be subordinated to th e trait labelled 'jealousy', but on the other

How are elements combined i n to unifying categories under the aegis of the proper name? The main principles ofcohesion, it

hand jealousy' may be subordinated to the character's rela­ tions with his wife (which include other features as well) . In

seems to me, are repetition . similarity, contrast, and im plica­ tion (in the logical sense). The repetition ofthe same behaviour

addi tion to reversibility within the character-construct , ele­

." ,:,


'invites' labelling it as a character-trait . as can

ments or patterns of this construct may entertain a relation of reversibility wi th other hierarchical constructs. Thu s , j us t as




seen in

Rose for E mily' ( 1 930) where the heroine's

repeated S unday rides with Homer Baron suggest both her

various instances of X's ambivalence can be subordinated to this trait i n his character. so the trait itself can be s u bs u m ed

defiance of the townspeople and her stu bbornness. Similarities ofbehaviour on different occasions. like Emily's refusal to admit the death of her father and her preserva tion of her ex-lover's

(together with the ambivalence of other characters or with situations of ambiguity) under a theme or a world view revol v­

corpse, also give rise to a generalization, in this case her clinging to people who robbed her of her life ( as the townspeople

ing around ambivalence. "" hen, in the process of reconstruction, the reader reaches a

i n terpret i t ) , or hcr necrophilia. Contrast is not less condu cive to

poi n t where he can no longer i n tegrate an element within a constru cted category, the implication would seem to be either

geunalization thall sim ilarity. as wh e n a character's ambiv­ alence toward his mother e m �rges from the tension b etween his

t h at the generalization established so far has been mistaken (a

freq uent visits to her and his equally frequent quarrels w i t h her.

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Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

As to implication. three of its forms are memioned by Garvey ( 1 978. pp. 74-5) : ( I ) 'a set of physical attributes implies a

psychological AP (Attributive Proposition ) ' , e.g. fingernails

-- X

is nervous;

X bites his

(:2) 'a set of psychological attribu­ X hates his father

tions implies a fu rther psychological AP' , e.g.

and loves his mothe r �

X has an Oedipus complex: (3) 'a set of

psychological and physical attributes implies a psychological AP', e.g.


sees a snake,

X becomes fearful


X is afraid of

snakes. The unity created by repetition, similarity, contrast, and

i mplication may, of course, be a unity in diversity; it still contributes to the cohesion of various traits around the proper name. on which the effect we call 'character' depends.

developing. Although these criteria often co-exist, there are

ficti onal characters which are complex but undeveloping (e.g. Joyce ' s Bloom) and others which are simple but developing (e.g. the allegorical Everyman) . Moreover, the lack of develop­ ment can be presented as arrested development resulting from

some psychic trauma, as in the case of Miss H avisham i n Dicken's Great Expectations ( 1 860/6 1 ) , thus endowing a static character with complexity In order to avoid red uctiveness, Ewen .10


( 1 97 I ,


7; 1980,


suggests a classification of characters as points along a

continuum rather than according to exhaustive categories. " And in order t o keep t h e principle of classification clear, he advocates a distinction among three continua or axes: complex­

ity, development, penetration into the 'inner life'. At one pole on

the axis of complexity he locates characters constructed around a

Character-classification The various characters abstracted from a given text are seldom grasped as having the same degree of'fullness· . Already in 1 927 Forster recognized


this, dis tinguishing between

' flat'


'round' characters. Flat characters are analogous to 'humours ' ,

caricatures, types. ' I n their purest form, they a r e constructed

around a single idea or quality' and therefore ' can be expressed ( 1 963. p. 75. Orig. pub!. 1 927)' Furthermore,

in one sentence'

such characters do not develop in the course of the action. As a

consequence of the restriction of qualities and the absence of

developmen t, flat characters are easily recognized and easily remembered by the reader. Round characters are d efined bv contrastive implication. namely those that are not flat. K�t being flat involves having more than one quality and developing

in the course of the action. Forster's distinction is of pioneering importance, but it also

single trait or around one dominant trait along with a few secondary ones. Allegorical figures , caricatures, and types be­

long to this pole. In the first, the proper name represents the

single trait around which the character is constructed (Pride,

Sin) . In the second, one out of the various qualities is exagger­ a ted and made prominent (e.g. many of Gogol's characters) .

And i n the third, the prominent trait i s grasped as represent­ ative ofa whole group rather than as a purely individual quality

(e.g. H i rsch, the Jew, in Conrad's Nostromo, 1 904) . At the op­ posite pole Ewen locates complex characters like Dostoevsky's

Raskolnikov or James's I sabel Archer. Between the two poles

one can distinguish infinite degrees of complexity.

Allegorical figures, caricatures, and types are not only simple but also static, and can thus also occupy, together with 'por­

traits' of the Theophrastes or La Bruyere type, one pole on the

The term 'flat' suggests

axis of development. But s tatic, undeveioping characters need not be limited to one trait; although static, Joe Gargery and Wem­

a s very �uch 'a live' but also create t h e impression of depth. (2) The dichotomy is highly reductive, obliterat ing the degrees and

Characters who do not develop are often minor. serving some fu nction beyond themselves (e.g. representing the social milieu in which the m ajor character acts). At the opposite pole there

suffers from a frw weaknesses:


something two-di mensional. devoid of depth and ' l ife ' , while in fact many flat characters, like those of Dickens. arC' not onl" fel t

nuances found i n a c tual works of narrative fiction. (3) Forster seems to confuse two criteria which do not always overlap.

According to him, a fiat character is both simple and unde­ veloping. whereas a round character is both complex and

mick in

Great Expectations

clearly have more than one quality.

are fully developed characters, like Stephrn in Joyce's A

of the Artist as a roung MaTI ( 1 9 1 6)

Ambassadors ( 1 903 ) .


or Strether in James's


The development is sometimes fully traced

in the text, as in the two examples given above, and sometimes


�.����� ' I

Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

only implied by it, as when Miss Bates in Austen' s Emma ( 1 8 1 6 ) turns from a funny figure to a figure ofpathos without a detailed tracing ofthe distance traversed.'2 The third axis, penetration into the 'inner life '. ranges from characters such as Woolf's Mrs Dalloway or joyce's Molly Bloom, whose consciousness is presented from within, to the likes of Hemingway'S killers (in the story bearing this name, 1 928) , seen only from the outside, their minds remaining opaque." Discussion of a character's 'inner life' is a far cry from referring to Emma Woodhouse as 'it' or treating characters as 'actants' (see pp. 33-5 ) . The co-presence of such contrasted concepts in this chapter is not an oversight or an inconsistency, but a gesture toward the reconciliation suggested earlier. Of course, co-presence is not in itself a reconciliation, and the very fact that it may be grasped as an inconsistency can serve as an indication of one aspect of the work that remains to be done before an integrated theory of character becomes feasible.

; �I



4 Text : time

'I I'

Having insisted on the interdependence of the three aspects of narrative fiction i n the introduction, and having analysed story in isolation in the two previous chapters, I shall now proceed to discuss text in its relation to story on the one hand and narration on the other. Three consecutive chapters will be devoted to three textual factors: time. characterization, focalization. The first two will be examined in relation to story: time as the textual arrangement of the event component of the story, and charac­ terization as the representation in the text of the character component of the story. The third factor, focalization, is the angle ofvision through which the story is filtered in the text, and it is verbally formulated by the narrator. This factor will therefore be studied mainly in relation to narration. General considerations

Time i s one of the most basic categories of human experience. Doubts have been cast as to the validitv of considering time a constituent of the physical world, but i�dividuals and ;ocieties continue to experience time and to regulate their lives by i t Some of our notions of time are derived from natural processes: day and night. a solar year with its four seasons (hut not in the arctic zone) . etc. A person shut off from all perc("ption of the Outside world would still . presumably, continue to experience .


44 the

Text: time

Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

succession of his

own thoughts and feelings. In between these

two extremes - the natural and the personal - is the mainstream


they remain useful constructs for the study ofan �mportant facet

convention which we establish in order to facilitate our living

of the story-text rclations. The disposition of elements in the text. conventionally called

together. Our civilization tends to think of time as an u n i-directional

cause language prescribes a linear figuration of signs and hence

of temporal experience: time as an intersubjective. public. social

and irreversible flow, a sort ofone-way street. Such a conception was given metaphoric shape by H eraclitus early in western history: "You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters and yet other waters go ever flowing on.' Today we might add that not only the object ofexperience but also the experienc­ ing subject is in a constant flux. To become socialized, the flux must be made measurable. I t can become measurable only when a repetitive pattern is discerned within it (e.g. the solar year) or imposed upon it by machines constructed to this end ( calendar-, clock-, metronome-time). Time 'is', paradoxically.

repetition within irreversible change. The repetitive aspect of time is sometimes taken one step further and seen as a refutation

text-time. is bound to be one-directional and irreversible, be­ a linear presentation of information about things. We read letter after letter. word after word, sentence after sentence, chapter

after chapter, and so on. There are some modern attempts to liberate n arrative fiction from these constrai n ts. but the libera­ tion is never complete because a complete one, if possible. will destroy in telligibility. Thus in Beckett's Watt there are a few sections where Watt, at leas t partly demented, reverses the order of words in the sentence, letters in the word, sentences in the paragraph. etc. But the n arrator explains these inversions to

the reader before reproducing them, thus making it possible or him to recuperate the origi n al order ( 1 972, pp. I 62�. Ong.

1 953)' Similarly. in Hopscotch ( 1 967. Orig. publ. 1 963), the Argentine writer J u lio Cortazar defies linearity by making the order of the chapters variable. In a 'Table

publ. in French

of Heraclitan unidirectionality, as in Nietzche's and Borges's

in Spanish

concepts of 'circular time ' . Like a n y o t h e r aspect o fthe world, t h e experience of time may

ofInstructions' preced ing the novel, he writes:

be represented in a narrative text, as (for example) in Virginia


To the Lighthouse ( 1 92 7 ).

But time is not only a recurrent

theme in a great deal of narrative fiction, it is also a constituent factor of both s tory and text. The pecu liarity ofverbal narrative is that in it time is constitutive both of the means of represent a­ tion (language) and of the obj ect represented (the incidents of the story ) . ) Thus time in narrative fiction can be defined as the relations of chronology between story and text. To say this, however, is not only to define time but also to imply a few in­ escapable complications. W e have already seen (pp. 1 6- 1 7) that story-time, conceived of as a linear succession of events, is no more than a conventional, pragmatically convenient construct. Text-time is equally problematic. Strictly speaking, it is a spatial. not a temporal, dimension. The narrative text as text has no other temporality than the one it metonymically derives from the process of i ts reading. What discussions of text-time actually refer to is the linear (spatial) disposition of linguistic segments in the continuum of the text. Thus both story-time and text-time may in fac t be no more than pseudo-temporal.

, .

Nevertheless, as long as we remember their 'pseudo' nature

two I n its own way this book consists of many books . but books above all. with The first can be read i n a normal fashion and ends chapter 56.


73 The second should be read by beginni ng with chapter each of end e h t t a d ndicate i ce sequen e h t g a n d then followin chapter . . . .

To illustrate this procedure, here is the beginning of the latter

73-1-2-1 1 6-3-84-4-7 1 -5-81-74-6-7--8--93-68-9But even here chap ters I -56 are to be read in order, with chapters 57- 1 55 i nterspersed between them. 'sequence':

1 04-1 0-65.

Text-time is thus inescapably linear, and therefore cannot correspond to the m u l t ilinearity of "real' story-time.l But


when we compare text - t i me to the convelltional story-time. i .e. to an ideal 'natura l ' chronology. we find that a hypothetical 'norm' of complete correspond('nc(' bf'tween the two is only ran-Iv realized. and almost exclusivelY in very simple narra· t ive s : I n practice, although the text ;lways unfolds in linear




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suc�ession, this need not correspond to the chronological suc­ cessIOn of event5, and most often deviates from it, creating various kinds of discordances, To my knowledge, the most exhaustive discussion of the discrepancies between story-time and text-ti � e i s Genette's ( 1 972, pp. 77- 1 82), and the following account wIll rely heavily on his, with some reservations, modi­ fications and examples of my own.' Time in general may be viewed in three respects: order. duration and frequency. Statements about order would answer the question 'when?' in terms like: fir st, second, las t ; before, after. etc. Statements about duration would answer the question 'how long?' in terms like: an hour, a year: long, short; from x till y, etc. Statements about frequtmcy would answer the question I ·



'how often?' in terms like: x times a min u te, a month, a page. I t i s under these headings that Genette sets out to examine the re­ lations between s tory-rime and text-time.� Under order Genette discusses the relations between the succession of events i n the story and their linear disposition in the text. Under duration he examines the relations between the time the events are sup­ posed to have taken to occur and the amount of text devoted to their narration. Under frequency he looks at the relations be­ tween the n u m ber oftimes an event appears in the story and the number of times it is narrated in the text.


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Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

The main types of discrepancy between story-order and text­ order ( ,anachronies' in Genette's terms) are traditionally known as 'flashback' or ' retrospection' on the one hand and 'foreshadowing' or 'anticipation' o n the other. However, in order to avoid the psychological as well as the cinematic-visual connotations of these terms. I s h a ll follow Genette in re­ baptizing them 'analepsis' and ' prolepsis' respect ivelv, An '

analtpsis is a narration of a story-event at a point in the tex t after later events have been told, The narration returns, as it \'I.'ere, to a past poi n t in the story. Conversely, aprolepsis is a narration of a story-event at a point before earlier events ha\'e been mentionl'd . The narration, as it were, takes an excu rsion into

the future of the story. If events a, b, c figure in t h e text i n the ordrr b. c, a then 'a' is analeptic. Ie on the other hand, they


appear in the order c, a, b then 'c' would be proleptic. Both analepsis and prolepsis constitute a temporally second narra­ tive in relation to the narrative onto which they are grafted and which Genette calls 'first narrative'. The 'first narrative', then, is - somewhat circularly - 'the temporal leve1 of narrative with respect to which an anachrony is defined as such' ( 1 972, p. 90:

1 980. p. 48) .

Analepses provide past information either about the character, event. or story-line mentioned at that point in the text ('homodiegetic analepsis' , according to . Genette), or . abo � t another character, event, or s tory-hne Cheterodlegeuc analepsis ' ) (the term 'diegesis' is roughly analogous to my 'story ' ) . The first type of analepsis can be illustrated by an

example from Flaubert's Sentimental Education. Chapter I , whose action takes place on 1 5 September 1 840, ends with Frederic's being summoned by a note from his friend Deslauriers to join him downstairs: Frederic hesitated. But friendship won the day. He picked up his hat. 'Don't stay out too late, anyway', said his mother. ( 1 970, p. 24. Orig. pub\. in French 1 869) Chapter


begin s as follows:

Charles Deslauriers' father, a former infantry officer who had resigned his commission i n 1 8 18, had returned to Nogent to marry, and with his bride's dowry he had purchased a post as bailiff which was barely sufficient to keep him alive. ( 1 970, p. 24) The acco u n t of the father's past history is subordinate to that of Charles Deslauriers himself, the main topic of the analysis: 'Few children were thrashed more frequently than his son, but beatings failed to break the lad's spirit' (p. 25). and so on. Whereas the example from Flaubert is homodiegetie, i.e. referring mainly to Charles Deslauriers, Proust's UII amour de

Swann ( 1 9 I 9) is a heterodiegetic analepsis. Swann. who is only a mi nor character in the first section of A la rechtrche du temps perdu. a section whose action takes place during Marcel's boyhood, bf'('omes the protagonist of the second section, whose action tak es place long before Marcel's birth.

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N a r r a ti ve Fiction : Contemporary Poetics

Both these analepses, though one is homodiegetic "and one heterodiegetic, ev�ke a past which precedes the starting point of the �rst narrative," hence they are 'external analepses' in Genette s terms, Other analepses may conj ure up a past which 'occurred , after the starting point of the first narrative but is either repeated analeptically or narrated for the first time at a poi n t in the text later than the place where it is 'due' (,internal analepses ' ) , Such analepses often fill in a gap created previous­ ly, sometimes a gap which is not felt as such until it is filled-in in retrospect.s A well known example of internal analepsis is the accoun t of Emma's years in the convent in Flaubert's A1adamt Bovary ( 1 857) . These years, summed up after later events in Emma 's life have been told, are obviously posterior to Charles's first day at the new school , the starting point of the novel (Genette ' 972, p. 98) . If the period covered by the analepsis . begms before the starting poi n t of the first narrative but at a later stage either joins it or goes beyond it, then the analepsis is considered 'mixed'. Prolepses are much less frequent than analepses , at least in the western tradition . When they occur, they replace the kind of suspense deriving from the q uestion 'What will happen next?' by another kind of suspense. revolving around the q uestion 'How is it going to happen?'6 Prolepsis, in the strict sense of telling the future before its time, should be distinguished from a preparation of or a hinting at a future occurrence ('amoret', in Genette's terms) of the type envisioned i n Chekhov's famous dictum about the necessary connection between the presence of a gun on s tage and a future murder or suicide. In a pure prolepsis the reader is confron ted with the future event before its time, whereas a mere preparation ofsubsequent events is on the whole grasped as such only in retrospect. Experienced readers, of course, may easily recognize such information 'plan ted' for later use, especially in highly conventional genres. This phenomenon may call for the i ntroduction of false preparations (Barthes's 'snar�s', ' 974. p. 85. Orig. pub!. in French 1 970) , e.g. a ?un that IS never used. These in turn may become a recognIzable convention, calling for the introduction of false snares which are, in fact, true preparations, and so on. On the: whole, Genette argues, so-called first-person . n arratives' lend themselves to the use of prolepsis better than

Text: time


n the admi ttedly retrospective char­ other types , becau se withi s more natural for the narrator to seem it tives acter ofsueh narra y become a past. Thus the allude to a future which has alread ng Paths' is said to be Forki of b ulk of Borges's 'The Garden before his execu tion. time short a or dicta ted by the spy-n arrat past as a spy and own his s arrate n he , point ge From this vanta for the 'present' (and often antic ipate s what for his past self nt narrating prese his for so r longe reade r) was a futur e but is no e: suffic will on omen phen this of self. One example s nothing to me In the mids t of my hatred and terror (it mean ed Richard mock have I that now to speak of terror. now it occurred e) noos the for s yearn t throa Mad den. now that my ior did warr y happ to me that that tumu ltuou s and doub tless t. not suspect that I possessed the Secre ) ( 1 974 , p. 45 . O rig . pubL in Spanish 1 956 used ly be effective But, I would like to stress, prolepsis can also ing example follow the as tion, narra t iscien omn lled in so-ca s: show e Brodi tan MissJ from Muri el Spark's The Prime of . are you listen­ 'Speech is silve r but silen ce is golden. Mary ing? Wha t was I sayin g?' a nose �nd Mary Macgregor, lump y, with mere ly two eyes, for bemg us famo a mout h like a snow man, who was later twenty­ of age the at who, and stupi d and alwa ys to blam e . en' 'Gold red. ventu fire, hotel a three, lost her life in ( J 9 7 " pp. 1 4- 1 5. Orig. pubL ' 96 1 )

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to the same Like analepses, prolepses can refer either in the text point that at character, even t, or story-line figuring sto�-line or , event cter, chara (homodiegetic) or to another either a cover can they pses, anale like n (heterodiegetic). Agai , or a rnal) (exte period beyond the end of the first narra tive it is h whic at point the to period anterior to i t but posterior ner's Faulk In d). (mixe both ine narrat ed (intern al) , or comb ence 'Barn Burn ing' the narrator describ('s the father's vio� ns: ratio gene re offum t and then compares this qual ity with t h a the older broth er His fathe r mou nted to the sea! where savage blows with two s mule t n gau the k struc alreadv sat and sadistic; the pe�le d willo w. but "with out hea.t. It was nol even would years later in h whic ity it was ('xactly that same qual



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Narrative Fi ction: Contemporary Poetics cause his descendants to overrun the engine before putting a

m o tor car i n to motion , striking and reigning back in the same movement.

( 1 97 1 , p . 1 65.

, II

Orig. publ.

1 939)

The comment about the fu ture generations effe cts a transition from the father to other characters or another story-line and hence constitu tes a heterodiegeti c prolepsis in relation to the

world of ' Barn B u rn ing' ( t hough not necessarily to that of the Faulkner saga as a whole) . But since this potential story-l i n e is

posterior to the end of t h e first narrative (and nothing else will be said about it throughout 'Barn Burning') the prolepsis is also


Another external prolepsis i n the same work narrates in

advance what will happen twenty years later but rem ains

attached to the boy. the object of n arration preceding the

prolepsis (hence the prolepsis is external but homodi ege tic) :

Later, twenty years later, he was to tell h i mself, ' I f ! had said they wanted only tru th, jus tice, h e would have hit me again . '

( P· 1 67) In all the examples given so far, the t em poral shift - whether an aleptic or proleptic- was effected by a narra tor who is situated

outside the story he n arrates. Compare aU the above examples

with the following passage fromJamesJoyce's ' Eveline':

She sat by the window watching the evening invade the

avenue. Her head was leaned against the window curtains. and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne. She was


Few people passed. The man out of the last house passed on his way home; she heard his footsteps clacking along the

concrete pavement and afterwards crunching on the cinder path before the new red houses. One time there used to be a

field t h en'

in wh i ch they used to play every evening with other

people's childre n . Then a man from Belfast bought the fi eld and built houses in it - not l i ke thei r l i t tle brown houses, but bright brick hOllses with shining roofs. The child ren of t h e a\'t'nue used to play t ogether in the field . . . . !'iow she was going to go away l i ke the others. to it'ave her home . . . . B u t i n her new home. ill a distant unknown country , it

would not be l i k e that. Th en she would be married - she. Eveline. People would trea t her with respect then. She would . not be treated as her m other had been. ( 1 96 1 , pp. 3 4- 5. Orig. publ. 1 9 ' 4) In contrast to the other ex a m p les , here the analepses and prolepses are not d i rectly a ttri �utable to th � narrator but fi l tered through (or, in Form a h st terms, m otivated by) the character's memories, fears . h opes. The status of the character­

motivated anachronies is di fferent from that of the narrator's in that they do not fully devi a te fro m chronology. The act of remem bering, fearing, or hop i n g is a part of the linear unfolding of the first narrative in ' Ev e l i n e'. I t is only the content of the memory, fear, or hope that constitu tes a past or future even t . Thus, if w e abstract t h e s tOry from t h e text, such events as

playin g with other people ' s children (analepsis) or being res­ pected in the new country ( prolepsis) will probably appear twice: once as an occurrence i n the past or a projected occur­ rence in the fu t u re, and on c e as a part of a present act of remembering, fearing or hopi ng. It is because of the present

cognitive or emotiona l act chat such events retain, at least partly, their ' normal ' place i n t h e first narrative.

D uration As Genelt e points o u t , the d ifficul ty in herent in the notion of tex t-time is perhaps more d i s t u rbing in conn ection with dura­ tion than it is in connection wit h order and frequency. The last two can be quite easily tran sposed from the time of the story, regardless of th e conventio l n a t u re of this time, to the linear­ na ity (space) of the t ex t . I t is n o t awkward to say that episode A com es a fter episod e B in the l i near d isposi tion of the text or that epis od e C is told twice i n the t ex t ; and stich statements are quite si mi l ar to those we c a n m ake a b o u t the story: even t A precedes eve n t B i n the chron ology of [ h e s tory; even t C happens only on ce. e t c. But j t is m u c h m orc d i /li c u l t to describe in parallel te rms t he duration of the t ex t a nd t h a t or t h e story. for the simple re as on t h at ther e is no vvay o f m ea s u r i n g text-duration. The o nl tr ul y y t e m pora l measu'r c a\'a ilable is the time of reading a n d t h i s varies from read er [0 reader, providing no objective S tan dard .


event, 2-5, c h . 2 , 1 34; abstracted from text, 3; arrangement, I � Bremond's model, 22-7: catalyst, 1 6; causal and temporal principles , 1 0; defined, 2, 1 5; embedding, enchainment, joining

89, 94, 95 first narrative, see narrative firs t- person . see focaliza tion; order flashback, see order Flaubert, Gustave: ,Madame Bova ry, 48, 53. 54-5, 80; SmtimenJai EducatifJn, 4 7 . 55-6,

(Bremond), 23; kernel, 1 6; label,-ling (Barthes) , 1 3- 1 5; macro- and micro-sequences, 1 6, 2 7 ; and narration, 2, 6; non-verbal, 1 08; outcome (Bremond), 22; participants in, 3; possibility, potentiality,


focalization (Genette), ch. 6, I I I ; bird's-eye view, 77: cognitive component. 79-80; defined, 43 , 7 1 ; degree ofpersistence, 76-7; emotive component, 79, 80- 1 ; external, 74; external v. internal, 75; external/internal and objective/subjective, 80- I : external. and time, 78-9; external, and unrestric­ ted knowledge. 79; in first­ person narrative, 73, 74; fixed, 76-7; and focalizer, 74; ideo­

process (Bremond), 22; Propp's model, 20-2; repetition, 5 1 , 56-7 ; satellite (Chatman), 1 6; simul taneous, 1 7; v. state, 1 5; and story, 3; study in poetics, 29; succession of events, 2, 3, 1 6, 1 8 , 1 06 Ewen , Joseph, 54 , 65 , 70; analogy in characterization, 67-8: character classification, 4 1 -2; characterization, 59, 6 1 , 66; free indirect discourse. I 1 4 expectation, see delay



external analepsis, "', order , �



logical facet, 8 1 -2; interior

1 65

monologue, 8 1 ; internal, 75,

80- I ; multiple, 76-7; and narration, 7 1 -4; v. narration,

73, 82: non-verbality of, 82; and norms of the text, 8 1 ; objective, 80 ; panchronic retrospective, 78; and perception, 77: perceptual facet, 77-9, 82; point ofview, 7 1 ; position relative to story, 74-6; psychological facet, 79-8 1 , 82 ; simultaneous, 77; spatial, 77-8; subjective, 80; synchronous, 78; temporal, 77; temporal perception. 78-9; textual factor, 85; types, 74- 7; variable. 76-7; verbal indicators. 82-5: from within/without, 80- 1 focalized: externally, 1 38; and focalizer, 74; inner life of, 8 1 ; from within/without, 75 focalizer, 57-8, 72; centre of consciousness, 7$ character-focalizer, 74, 77-8; dominant, 8 1 ; emotions and mind of, 79: external. 74-6, 8 1 ; external and internal, 77, 79: and focalization, 74: identity with focalized, 76, 8 1 : internal, 76; narrator­ focalizer, 74-6. 8 1 ; reflector, 73; and text, 3 folk-tale, 20-2 foreshadowing, stt order Forster, E. M.: character, 40; story and plot. 1 7: A Passage 10 India, 53, 74. 77 frames (Perry) , 1 22-4, 128 frames of reference ( Hrushovski), 1 23 free direct discourse. see speech representation free indirect discourse. 140;



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Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

free indirect discourse - contd alternative patterning ( Perry), I 1 4; combined discourse, I I I ; conjunction 'that', I I I ; deictics. I 1 2: double-edged effect, 1 '1 3, 1 14. 1 1 6; embedding (Bal), I I I ; empathetic identification, 1 1 4: functions of, 1 1 3- 1 4: and implied author, I 1 3- 1 4; indirect interior monologue. 1 1 4: ironic distancing. I 14: linguistic fea tures, I I I - I 3: literariness of I 1 4- I S; mimetic nature of, I 1 4; monologue, 1 06; paradigmatic nature of, I I S: polyvocalit)·. I 1 3; pronouns, I 1 2; questions, I 1 2; reporting verb, I I I ; speaker identification, 1 1 3: speakers, plurality of, I 1 4; status in poetics, I 1 4- 1 6: stream of consciousness, I 1 4; tense scheme, I I I - I 2; thematic functions, I 1 3: trans-linguistic nature of. I 1 5: vocatives, intetjections, lexical registers, dialectical features, 1 1 3: see also speech represen­ tation frequency (Genette) , 56-8, 1 37; defined, 46; repetition relations: iterative, repetitive, singulative, 57-8 Friedman, Norman, 72 function ( Bremond) , 2 2 function (Propp), 20, 2 I gap, 56, 1 25. 1 2 i-9; �nd analepsis, 48; antenor. 1 29; centrality of. 1 28; enigma (Barthes), 1 26, 1 28; hermeneutic (Barthes) . 1 28: information, 1 28; permanent.

I 28; prospective v. retrospective, 1 29; and story-time and text-time. 1 28-9; temporary, 1 28 Garvey. James: character­ reconstruction, 37; i mplication , 40 generalization, 99, 1 03; in reality models. 1 24; see also narrator: perceptibili ty Genesis, 76 Genette, Gerard, 75, 1 06; focalization. 7 1 -4; histoire, narration, ridt, 3; mimesis, 1 08: narratee. 1 03-5; narration-story relations, 89-9� narrative level, 94- 1 05; reality models, 1 2� time, 46-58 genre, Stt reading process Gestalten (Iser), 1 22-3 Gide, Andre: The CouTUerftiters, 93 Gogol, Nikolai, 4 1 ; 'The Overcoat', 68 Golomb, H arai: free indirect discourse (combined speech) , II1 grammar, 9; see also narrative grammar Greimas, A.J.: character and action, 3� deep narrative structure, 1 2- 1 3; levels of narration, 7: narrative grammar, 9- 1 4, 2 7

H amlet, 62, 1 25 Hamon, Philippe, 35: names, 68-9 Hardy, Thomas: Tess oftM D 'Uberoilies, 98

Hawkes, Terence, s, 8, 1 2 , 1 3. 1 15 Hemingway, Ernest, 42: 'Hills like 'White Elephants', 97 ;


'The Killers', 54, 8 1 , 96 Heraclitus, 44 hermeneutic, see code: gap Hernadi, Paul, 1 1 0 heterodiegetic, see order; narratee; narrator heteronomous objects ( Ingarden), 1 1 8 hierarchy: and character, 34-6, 37: and narrative levels, 9 1 , 92: reversibility of (Hrushovski) , 38, 59 Iris/oirt (Genette), see story homodiegetic, see order; narratee; narrator homology, I I Hrushovski, Benjamin: character construction, 37-40; definition of poetics, 2; hierarchy, 36; story autonomy, 6 Husserl, Edmund, 1 I 8 hypodiegetic, see narrative level; narrator ideology, see focalization immanent level ofnarration (Greimas), 7 immanent story structure (Greimas), 7 implication, see name implied author, see author implied reader, see reader improvement (Bremond), 2 7 indirect discourse, see speech representation indirect presentation, see characterization indirect speech, see speech representation inform ation gap, see gap information and informant. 1 08 Ingarden, Roman, 1 1 8 inner life. see character classification

1 67

intelligibility. see reading process i nterior monologue, set focalization; free indirect discourse internal analepsis, su order i nterpretation, 98-9. 103; Stt also narrator: perceptibili ty intertextual frames (Eco) , 1 23 inversion, 1 8 !ser, Wolfgang. 86, 1 1 7; gaps, 1 27 James , Henry, 7 , 35 , 1 07 ; TM Ambassadors, 4 1 . 68; 'The Figure in the Carpet', 1 2 I , 1 2 7; Thr Portrait ofa Lad;', 38, 60, 63, 98, 99: Thr Sacred FOUTIl, 99; Thr Turn oftht Screw, 94-5. 1 03, 1 28; What Maisie Knew, 76 joining (Bremond), su event Joyce, James, 4 1 -2; 'Araby', 74; focalization in 'Araby', 83-5; 'Eveline', 50- I , 6 1 , 78; A Portrait oftJu A rtist as a Young Man, 4 1 , 68-9, 72-3; UlYsses,

69, 76 judgements, see narrator: perceptibility I(ayser, Wolfgang, 54 kernel, see event Kleist, Heinrich von: 'The Marquise of 0-' , 56 I(uroda, S. Y., 1 1 0 labels, labelling, 14; character-trait, 70: names, 33 Lacan,Jacques, 1 3 1 Lados, Pierre Choderlos de: Les liaisons dangereuses, 90, 1 04 Lammert. Eberhart, 54 landscape, su characteri7.ation language, 7, 1 14, I I S ; dependence, 8; and focalization/

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1 68

Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

language - contd narration, 82; linearity of, 1 1 9-2 1 ; and mimesis, 1 08; natural, 8; see also speech represen ta tion langue (v.parole, S aussure) , 8 Lavater,Johann Caspar, 65 Lawrence, D. H.: chemical

aspect ofcharacter, 30; �

ChatuTley 's Lover, 62-3; Sons and Louers, 94, 95 Le Carre, John: The Spy Who Came Infrom the Cold, 1 26

Levi-Strauss, Claude: deep narrative structure, 1 1 - 1 2 linear chronology, norm of, 1 7 linguistic iterability (Derrida) ,

1 1 5- 1 6

linguistic levels, 1 0 linguistics, 9 Lipski, John, 28 literariness (non-referentiality),

1 15

literature model, Stt reading process Lubbock, Percy, 54, 107 McCullers, Carson: ' Th e Soj ourn er ', 98-9 McHale, Brian, 1 10, 1 14, 1 1 5; free indirect discourse, 1 1 3; speech representation, 1 09- 1 3 main story-line, ste story Maupassant, Guy de: 'Mademoiselle Perle', 68 medium (sign system), 7; dependence, 8 Melville, Herman: Pierre, or the

Ambiguities, 93 metaphor in m etonymy, 67 metonymy of text, 4. I 33, 1 42 Metz, Christian, 1 06 Miller,J. Hillis, 1 2 1 Mil ton, Jonn: Paradise Lost, go

mimesis: actional, 1 08; mimetic

illusion, 1 08; see also diegesis; free indirect discourse; speech


minimal story, su story mise en obyrne, 93

monologicaJ (BUbtin), 1 1 5 monologue, see focalization; free indirect discourse; speech representation Morrisette, Bruce, 75 motivation, 5 1 , 1 42; artisti c and

realistic, 1 2 7

move grammar, 1 34 Mudrick, Marvin: mode of existence ofcharacter, 3 1 -2 multiple meaning, set reading process myth, I I ; Oedipus, 1 1 - 1 2;

Oedipus Rex, 22, 24-7

my themes, I 1 , 1 34

Nabokov, Vladimir: lAughter in

the Dark, 53-4, 98; The Real Life ofStbastian Knight, 9 HZ name, 36; and analogy with trait, 68-9; focalization, 82-3; focalizer, 8S; as label, 33; process of nomination, 36-7; proper, 29, 1 36; trai t, 33 narratee, 86-9, 97, 1 03-5; covert v. overt, 1 0� extradiegetic, heterodiegetic., homodiegetic, intradiegetic, 1 04; reliability of, 104 narration (narration, Genette

1 972), 2-5, I I 1 , 1 27, 1 33; act

of, 1 06; anterior, 90; apparent level of, 7; as communication, 2; defined, 3-5; distance, Bg-go; as event, 8g; and focalization, 7 1 -4. 82; immanent level of, 7; i nte r­ calated, go; omniscient, 49;


rate of, 52: real (author), 3: simultaneous, 90., 1 40; and story, subordination relations, 9 1 -5: and story, temporal relations, Bg-9 1 : ulterior, 89: verbal nature of, 2; stt also narrative level; speech representation n a rrative , I , 4, J 5; first, 47-8, 9 1 , 94, 1 04, 1 28; focalized, 74; non-narrative, 15; second, 47, 9 1 ; within narrative, 90- 1 narrative ambiguity, 1 03, 1 2 1 narrative communication situation, 86-9 narrative content (v. text) , 4 narra tive fiction: defined, I , 2 narrative form, 7 narrative grammar, 9- 1 4, 2 7, 34 narrative level, 9 1 -5; diegetic, 9 1 , 92 , 93, 94; extradiegetic, 9 1 , 93-4; fiction and reality in, 94; hierarchy, 91, 92; hypod iegetic, 9 1 -2; h y podieget ic . functions of: actional, 92, exp licative, 92, mist en abyrne, 93-4, thematic, 92-3; and narrator, 94-5 narrative propositions, 1 4· 1 5 narrative structure: deep, 1 1 - 1 3; deep and surface. 9- 1 I ; surface," 1 3-27; users' competence in, 8 1 narrativity, 7 , 8; and rhetoric, 131 n a rra tology, 1 3 1 , 1 33 narrator, 57. 64, 72, 86-9, 94- 1 03, 1 04; authoritative. 60, 8 1 ; au to-diegetic. 96; diegetic ( in trad i egetic) , 92. 94-6, 98, 1 03: digression by, 1 27: exp l ica tion by, 66; extradiegetic, 92, 94-6, 98. 1 03; heterodiegetic and

] 69

homodiegetic, 95, 96, 1 03; and language oftext, 82; narrating agent and external focaliz­ ation, 7� narrating selfv. experiencing self, 74; nar­ rative agent, 72, 1 38; and narrative level, 94-5; narrator-focalizer, 74-6, 77, 8 1 , 82; and participation in story, 94, 95-6; omniscient, 95 -perceptibility of, 94, 96- 1 00, 1 08; and com­ mentary, 98- 1 00; and definition ofcharacler, 98: and description ofsetting, 96-7; and generalization, 99, 1 03; and identification of character, 97; and in terpretation , 98-9, 103; and judgements, 99, 1 03; and reader, � and report of characters' thoughts or words, 98; and temporal summary, 97-8 -reliabi lity of, 94, 100-3; and covertness/overtness, 96, 103 -second degree, 94; typology of, 94- 1 03: verbalizes story, 71 ; witness, g6: Ht also narratee; narrative level natural chronology, 16 natural language, 8-9 naturalization (Culler), see reading process Nietzsche, Friedrich, 44nomination, see name Norris, C hristopher, 1 3 1 omniscient, su narration; narrator: order order ( Genette) , 46-5 1 ; amoret ( Gene tte) , 4B; anachrony , 46-5 1 , character-motivated, 50- I , narrator-motivated, 5 1 ; analepsis, 46-8, 1 1 9, 1 28;





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Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

order (Genette) - contd anticipation, 46; defined, 46; external and internal analepsis, 48; external and internal prolepsis, 49-50; first narrative, 47-8; and first­ person narrative, 48-9; flash­ back, 46; foreshadowing, 46; heterodiegetic and homo­ diegetic analepsis, 47; hetero­ diegetic and homodiegetic prolepsis, 49-50; mixed analepsis, 48; mixed prolepsis, 49; norm. 52; and omniscient narrative, 49; preparations, false and true, 48; prolepsis , 46, 48-5 1 , 90, 1 I 9, 1 28; retro­ spection, 46; see also gap outcome (Bremond), Set event overtness, Set narratee; narrator: reliability pace, Stt duration Page, Norman, 1 09- 1 0 paraphrase, 8 , 1 3, 1 4; heresy of (Brooks), 8; indirect content, 109; tangibility of, 1 3 Pascal, Roy, 1 1 0 pause, Set duration Pavel, Thomas G., 1 34 penetration into the inner l ife, see character classification perceptibility, Stt narrator: perceptibility performance (v. competence), 8 Perry, Menakhem, 86, I 1 0- I I , 1 1 9, 1 23-4, 1 28, 1 33; gaps. 1 28; reading process, 1 2 1 ; textual linearity, 1 20 perspective, 1 33 phenomenology of reading, 1 1 8 phrase-structure, 1 0 Plato: 17u Republic, 1 06 plot, I 35; Forster on, 1 7

plot-patterns (Bremond), 23 poetics: defined. 2 point of view, Stt focalization polyphony: Bakhtin. 8 1 ; interand intra-te>.."tual, 1 1 5 - 1 6 polyvocality, stt free indirect discourse Porter, Katherine Anne: 'FloweringJudas', 66, 69 Pouillon,Jean , 7 1 pre-verbal perception, I 1 4 Price, Martin, 33 primacy effect (Perry), Stt reading process Prince, Geral d , 7, 1 5: minimal story, 1 8; narratees, 1 03-5 proairetic code, Stt code process of nomination, see name production (narration) , 3 , 4 prolepsis (Genette), see order proper name (Barthes), see name propositional functions (Propp), 21 Propp, Vladimir: autonomy of story, 7; character, 34; Morphology ofthe Folktale, 7; structural model, 20-2 Proust, Marcel: Un amour de Swann, 47; A La recherche flu temps perdu, 47 psychological narrative, see character: interdependence with action reader, 4, 1 3, 60, 1 1 3, 1 1 8- 1 9; competence, 1 1 8; comprehension, 1 23; hesitation , 70; implied, 86-9. 97, 1 02-4, 1 1 9; i nteraction with text, I 1 8; and narrator, 94; process of reconstruction, 38; psychology of, 1 1 9; real, 86-7, 89, 97, 1 02 , 1 04; realizes text, 1 1 8- 1 9; role of, 1 1 7- 1 9;

I !


I i

selected by text, I 1 7- 1 8; as textual strategies, n 9; st't also narration reading process, 70, I I 1 : Anglo-American criticism, I 1 7; and character reconstruction, 36; defamiliarizati on, 1 23: delay, 1 25-7; dynamics of reading, I 1 9-2� enhancing i ntelligibility, 1 2 2-3, 1 26; enigma (Barthes), 1 26, 1 28; gap, 1 25, 1 2 7-9; genre as literary model, 1 25: hermeneutic code, 1 26; hypothesis forming, 1 2 1 ; literature models, 1 24-5, 1 2 7 , 1 43; models o f coherence (Culler), 1 23-4; multiple meaning, 1 2 1 ; naturalization (Culler), 1 23, 1 2 7; phenomenology of reading, 1 1 8; primacy effect (Perry) , 1 20; proairetic code, 1 24, 1 25; reality models, 1 24-5, 1 2 7, 1 42 - 3; recency effect (Perry) , 1 20; retardatory devices, 1 26-7; retrospective patterning, 1 2 2; structuralist criticism, I 1 7 ; unreadability, 1 2 I ; see also reader real author, Set author real narration, see narration reality model, see reading process recency effect , St( reading process riciJ (Genette), see text reflector. Stt focalizer reliability, see narratee: narrator; reliability repetition, Stt event; frequency; name represented world, 6 retruspection, see order reversibility of hierarchies



(Hrushovski), 36 rhetoric, 1 3 1 FUcardou,]ean· 93 Rimmon, Shlomith, 93, 1 2 1 , 1 27. 1 28; Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith, 1 22 Robbe-Grillet, Alain. 29: Jealousy. 74-5 : u Vl!)'tur, 1 03 Romberg. Berti!. 72 Ron, Moshe, 1 1 0, 1 1 3, 1 1 5; applies Bremond, 22, 24-6; free indirect discourse, 1 1 4 Roth, Philip: PortTlI!)" s Complaint, 1 04 Salinger, ] . D.: The Catcher in lhe Rye, 1 00, 1 04 Sarraute, Nathalie, 29 satellites (Chatman) , Stt event Saussure. Ferdinand de, 8 scene, 1 07; see also d uration Scholes, Robert, 1 2 second narrative, see narrative seeming description (Ewen), Set characteriza tion seme: and character, 39, 1 36; defined, 1 2 semic code (Barthes), see code semiotic square (Greimas), 1 2 sequence, Sfe event setting, description of, 66-70, 96-7: Set also characterization; n arrator: perceptibility Shakespeare: King uar, 1 6, 70 Shklovsky, Victor, 1 23 showing (v. telling), I Oi, 108 sign system (medium) , 7 simultaneity, see event; narration Sophocles: Oedipus Rex. 22, 24-7 Spark, Muriel: The Prime ofMiss Jean Brodie, 46, 62. 68 spatial principle (v. temporal), 15 speech: character's style, 64:


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Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics

speech - contd and characterization, 67: in indirect presentation. 63-5 speech representation: dialogue. monologue, 1 06: diegetic summary. 1 09: direct discourse, 1 1 0, 1 1 1 - 1 3: direct speech, 1 06; free direct discourse, 1 1 0; free indirect discourse, 1 1 0- 1 6; indirect content paraphrase, 1 09; indirect discourse, 1 09, 1 1 1 - 1 3 : indirect speech. 1 06: summary, 1 09; set also free indirect discourse; narration speed. Sfe duration: pace Stanzel, Franz K., 7 1 stasis (v. process, Chatman ) , 1 5 state, Stt event Sternberg, Meir, 1 2 1 , 1 28 Sterne, Laurence: Tristram Shandy, go, g3, 1 04-5 story (hisloire, Genctte 1 972), 3-4, 6, 8, g; absence or presence, 1 5; as abstraction, 7, 1 3, I I g; autonomy of, 6-8; availability to reader, 6; bifurcation (Bremond) , 22-7: causality in, 1 6, I 7- 1 9, 6g; character, 2g, 33; construct. 1 3; deep structure of, 9- 1 3, 27; diegesis, 47, g l : form v. substance, 6; Forster on, 1 7: main story-line, 1 6; minimal, 1 8, 1 35; multilinear, 1 7; paraphrase, 1 3- I 4; story-duration v. text­ duration. 5 1 -2. 54-5: story­ time, 1 6, 44-5, 1 26; structural nature of, 6, 8; subsidiary story-line, 1 6; temporal nature of, 5 1 -2: and text, 8; and text and narration, 43; trans­ ferability of. 8: transverbality


of, 9: unilinear, 1 7 story-duration, Itt story story-time, Set story style, 58; dependence, 8; of text, 7 succession, Set event; story: minimal summary, see duration surface structure, 9, 27; constitutive units of, I S : linguistic, 1 0, 27-8; narrative, 1 0, 1 3, 27-8; syntagmatic nature of. / 0- 1 I suspense, Stt delay Taine, Hippolyte. 66- 7 telling, see showing temporal organization, Stt time temporal summary, Set narrator: perceptibility text (dcit, Genette 1 972), 3-4, 8, 1 3, 1 1 9; availability to reader, 4. 6; character, textualized, 32-3; d uration in, 5 1 -2; and focalization, 8 1 , 85; intelligibility of, 1 22-5; norms of, 8 1 ; produced by reader, I 1 7- 1 8: and reader, 1 22-9: retardatory devices in, 1 26-7; self-survival of, 1 25; spatial nature of, 5 1 -2; and time, ch· 4 -text-time: frequency and order, 5 1 ; irreversibility of, 1 37; linearity of, 45-6; pseudo-temporality of, 44; spatial dimension of, 44-6; unidirectionality of, 45: see also narration: story textual strategies, Stt reader third-person centre of consciousness, Stt focalizer A Thousarul and One Nights, 1 04 time, 5, 43-4, 46-58; causality,

1 8 : circular, 44; constituent factor ofstory and text. 44; duration. 5 1 -6; frequency, 56-8: and minimal story, 1 8- 1 9: order, 46-5 1 ; of reading, 5 I -2; repetitive pattern, 44: temporal relations in Bremond's model, 22: temporal succession, 1 6: as theme, 44; time of story v. space of text, 5 1 -2; see also duration: focalization; frequency: order Todorov, Tzvetan, 8, g, I +. 1 6, 32, 1 25; Grammaire du Dicamiron, 9 Tolstoy, Leo: Anna Karenina, 99, 1 20; War arul Peace, 78, 83 Tomashevsky, Boris, 2, 1 5 trait, Stt name transformation, see deep structure Transforma tional Generative Grammar, 9 ulterior narration, see narration unreadability, see reading process


1 73

unreliability. 140; see also narrator: reliability Uspensky. Boris, 77, 79, 8 1 , 82; naming, 83: spatial focalization, 77-8; temporal focalization, 78-9 verbal: non-verbal, 1 08; pre-verbal, 1 1 4; representation, 3 voice, 60 Voloshinov. Valentin N., 1 1 5 Weinsheimer,Joel, 32-3 White, Patrick: Tht Solid Mandala, 76. 1 20; Voss, 77 witness, Stt narrator Woolf, Virginia, 30; Mrs Dalloway, 42, 89, 97, 1 04; To tIu Lighthoust, 44 writing, 3 dimension written text, virtual ' of, 1 1 7 Zinoviev, Alexander: The Yawning Heights, 68 Zola, Emile: Germinal, 67

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