In Narratives Unsettled, Samuel Frederick proposes a new conception of narrativity that can accommodate unwieldy forms of digression. By way of close readings of three German-language writers from different historical periods, Frederick demonstrates that digression, far from being a non- or anti-narrative interruption, contributes to what makes these writers' works fundamentally narrative. In the process, the author counters several foundational assumptions of classical narratology, including the conviction—rooted in Aristotle—that narrative without plot is logically impossible, and that anything deviating from narrative's teleological imperative is either destructive or insignificant.
Frederick's readings of the narrative experiments, utopian moments, and obsessions with the trivial in works by Walser, Bernhard, and Stifter point to new ways of approaching the ostensibly antinarrative as a productive element of narrativity. As a work that explores the often neglected crossroads of German studies and postclassical narratology, Narratives Unsettled will be of great interest to scholars in both of these fields, as well as to those working on literature and theory in general.