Narratology

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Manfred Jahn Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative Full reference: Jahn, Manfred. 2005. Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative. English Department, University of Cologne. Version: 1.8. New in this version: Some modified definitions in N1; set of analytical question in N1.33; recent narratological literature (N2.1); hypothetical focalization and empty centers (N3.2.5); story grammars (N4.5); revised references and bibliography.

Date: 28 May 2005 This page: http://www.uni-koeln.de/~ame02/pppn.htm Project jump page: http://www.uni-koeln.de/~ame02/ppp.htm All paragraphs in this section are labeled 'N' for 'narratology'. If you quote from this document, use paragraph references (e.g., N5.4 etc) rather than page numbers. Contents N1. Getting started N2. The narratological framework N2.1 Background and basics N2.2. Narrative genres N2.3. Narrative communication N2.4. Narrative Levels N3. Narration, Focalization, and Narrative Situations N3.1. Narration (voice) N3.2. Focalization (mood) N3.3. Narrative situation N4. Action, story analysis, tellability N5. Tense, Time, and Narrative Modes N5.1. Narrative Tenses N5.2. Time Analysis N5.3. Narrative Modes N6. Setting and fictional space N7. Characters and Characterization N8. Discourses: representations of speech, thought and consciousness N9. A Case Study: Alan Sillitoe's "The Fishing Boat Picture" N10. References

N1. Getting started
This chapter builds a toolbox of basic narratological concepts and shows how to put it to work in the analysis of fiction. The definitions are based on a number of classical introductions -specifically, Genette (1980 [1972]; 1988 [1983], key terms: voice, homo- and heterodiegetic,

focalization); Chatman (1978, key terms: overtness, covertness), Lanser (1981; key terms: voice, human limitation, omniscience); Stanzel (1982/1984, key terms: narrative situation, authorial, figural, reflector), and Bal (1985, key term: focalizer). In the later chapters of this script, the toolbox will serve as an organizational framework for contextualizing a large number of more specific terms and concepts. N1.1. Normally, the literature department of a bookshop is subdivided into sections that reflect the traditional genres -- Poetry, Drama, and Fiction. The texts that one finds in the Fiction department are novels and short stories (short stories are usually published in an anthology or a collection). In order to facilitate comparison, all passages quoted in the following are taken from the first chapters of novels. Thus, as a side effect, this section will also be a survey of representative incipits (beginnings). Hey, that's one technical term out of the way already. The foregoing decision to generalize from a single text type is motivated by purely practical reasons. There is nothing logical or necessary about it; indeed, many theorists prefer to kick off with more "basic" types of narratives, real-world narratives such as anecdotes, news reports, etc., and then work their way "up" to fiction. Here, however, I suggest doing it the other way round. Novels are an extremely rich and varied medium: everything you can find in other types of narrative you find in the novel; most of what you find in the novel you can find in other types of narrative, whether in nonfiction, natural narrative, drama, film, etc. So, let's go to the bookshelf, get out a few novels, open them on page 1, and see what we can do to get an analytical grip on them. N1.2. First we must define narrative itself. What are the main ingredients of a narrative? What must a narrative have for it to count as narrative? For a simple answer let us say that all narratives present a story. A story is a sequence of events which involves characters. Hence, a narrative is a form of communication which presents a sequence of events caused and experienced by characters. In verbally told stories, such as we are dealing with here, we also have a story-teller, a narrator. This getting started...
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