front cover of After Testimony
After Testimony
The Ethics and Aesthetics of Holocaust Narrative for the Future
Edited by Jakob Lothe, Susan Rubin Suleiman, and James Phelan
The Ohio State University Press, 2012

After Testimony: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Holocaust Narrative for the Future collects sixteen essays written with the awareness that we are on the verge of a historical shift in our relation to the Third Reich’s programmatic genocide. Soon there will be no living survivors of the Holocaust, and therefore people not directly connected to the event must assume the full responsibility for representing it. The contributors believe that this shift has broad consequences for narratives of the Holocaust. By virtue of being “after” the accounts of survivors, storytellers must find their own ways of coming to terms with the historical reality that those testimonies have tried to communicate. The ethical and aesthetic dimensions of these stories will be especially crucial to their effectiveness. Guided by these principles and employing the tools of contemporary narrative theory, the contributors analyze a wide range of Holocaust narratives—fictional and nonfictional, literary and filmic—for the dual purpose of offering fresh insights and identifying issues and strategies likely to be significant in the future. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan, Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Anniken Greve, Jeremy Hawthorn, Marianne Hirsch, Irene Kacandes, Phillipe Mesnard, J. Hillis Miller, Michael Rothberg, Beatrice Sandberg, Anette H. Storeide, Anne Thelle, and Janet Walker.


front cover of Experiencing Fiction
Experiencing Fiction
Judgments, Progressions, and the Rhetorical Theory of Narrative
James Phelan
The Ohio State University Press, 2007

front cover of Fictionality and Literature
Fictionality and Literature
Core Concepts Revisited
Lasse R. Gammelgaard
The Ohio State University Press, 2022
Taking its cues from Richard Walsh’s influential 2007 book, The Rhetoric of FictionalityFictionality and Literature sets out to examine the implications of a rhetorical understanding of fictionality. A rhetorical approach understands fictionality and nonfictionality not as binary opposites but as different means to the same end: influencing an audience’s understanding of the world. Arguing that fiction is not just a feature of particular works, such as novels, but an adaptable instrument used to achieve an author’s specific rhetorical goals, the contributors theorize how to reconceive of core literary features and influences such as author, narrator, plot, character, consciousness, metaphor, metafiction/metalepsis, intertextuality, paratext, ethics, and social justice. Combining analyses of a wide range of texts by Colson Whitehead, Charles Dickens, Kazuo Ishiguro, Toni Morrison, Geoffrey Chaucer, and others with historical events such as the Nat Tate biography hoax and the Anders Breivik murders, contributors discuss not only a rhetorical definition of fictionality but also the wider consequences of such a conception. In addition, some chapters within Fictionality and Literature offer alternatives to a rhetorical paradigm, thus expanding the volume’s representation of the current state of the conversation about fictionality in literature.

H. Porter Abbott, Catherine Gallagher, Lasse R. Gammelgaard, Stefan Iversen, Louise Brix Jacobsen, Rikke Andersen Kraglund, Susan S. Lanser, Jakob Lothe, Maria Mäkelä, Greta Olson, Sylvie Patron, James Phelan, Richard Walsh, Wendy Veronica Xin, Henrik Zetterberg-Nielsen, Simona Zetterberg-Nielsen

front cover of Somebody Telling Somebody Else
Somebody Telling Somebody Else
A Rhetorical Poetics of Narrative
James Phelan
The Ohio State University Press, 2017
In Somebody Telling Somebody Else, James Phelan proposes a paradigm shift for narrative theory, a turn from viewing narrative as a structure to viewing it as a rhetorical action in which a teller selectively deploys the resources of storytelling in order to accomplish particular purposes in relation to particular audiences. Phelan explores the consequences of this shift for an understanding of various elements of narrative, including reliable and unreliable narration, character-character dialogue, and occasions of narration.
In doing so, he offers new readings of a wide range of narratives from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, from Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim to George V. Higgins’s The Friends of Eddie Coyle, from Franz Kafka’s “Das Urteil” to Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif,” from David Small’s Stitches to Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Third and Final Continent,” from John O’Hara’s “Appearances” to Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love.  Phelan contends that the standard view of narrative as a synthesis of story and discourse is inadequate to handle the complexities of narrative communication, and he demonstrates the greater explanatory power of his rhetorical view.  Furthermore, Phelan gives new prominence to the presence and activity of the “somebody else,” as he shows that an audience’s unfolding responses to a narrative often influence its very construction.

Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter