A Poetics of Unnatural Narrative
Jan Alber, Henrik Skov Nielsen, and Brian Richardson The Ohio State University Press, 2013 Library of Congress PN212.P644 2013 | Dewey Decimal 808.036
A Poetics of Unnatural Narrative offers a collection of foundational essays introducing the reader to the full scope of unnatural narrative theory: its meaning, its goals, its extent, its paradoxes. This volume brings together a distinguished group of international critics, scholars, and historians that includes several of the world’s leading narrative theorists. Together, they survey many basic areas of narrative studies from an unnatural perspective: story, time, space, voice, minds, narrative levels, “realism,” nonfiction, hyperfiction, and narrative poetry. Rarely have these fundamental concepts been subjected to such an original and thoroughgoing reconceptualization. Much of the book is directed toward an investigation of experimental and antirealist work. Each essay focuses on texts and episodes that narrative theory has tended to neglect, and each provides theoretical formulations that are commensurate with such exceptional, albeit neglected, works. A Poetics of Unnatural Narrative articulates and delineates the newest and most radical movement in narrative studies. This anthology will be of great interest to students and scholars of narrative studies and of the history and theory of modern fiction.
In this volume, an international group of contributors presents new perspectives on narrative. Using David Herman’s 1999 definition of "postclassical narratology" from Narratologies: New Perspectives on Narrative Analysis (OSUP) as their launching point, these eleven essayists explore the various ways in which new approaches overlap and interrelate to form new ways of understanding narrative texts.
Postclassical narratology has reached a new phase of consolidation but also continued diversification. This collection therefore discriminates between what one could call a critical but frame-abiding and a more radical frame-transcending or frame-shattering handling of the structuralist paradigm. Postclassical Narratology: Approaches and Analyses discusses a large variety of different aspects of narrative, such as extensions of classical narratology, new generic applications (autobiography, oral narratives, poetry, painting, and film), the history of narratology, the issue of fictionality, the role of cognition, and questions of authorship and authority, as well as thematic matters related to ethics, gender, and queering. Additionally, it uses a wide spectrum of critical approaches, including feminism, psychoanalysis, media studies, the rhetorical theory of narrative, unnatural narratology, and cognitive studies. In this manner the essays manage to produce new insights into many key issues in narratology.
The contributors also demonstrate that narratologists nowadays see the object of their research as more variegated than was the case twenty years ago: they resort to a number of different methods in combination when approaching a problem, and they tend to ground their analyses in a rich contextual framework.