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Interior Spaces and Narrative Perspectives Before 1850


Monika Fludernik et Suzanne Keen (éd.), Interior Spaces and Narrative Perspectives Before 1850. Special issue of Style, vol. 48, n° 4 , hiver 2014.

Dans ce numéro, deux articles de Monika Fludernik :

  • with Suzanne Keen : "Introduction: Narrative Perspectives and Interior Spaces in Literature Before 1850", p. 453-460.
  • "Description and Perspective: The Representation of Interiors", p. 461-478.

Extrait de l'article

The narratological analysis of description and even its definition and distinction from surrounding narrative report of action has given rise to a host of problems and questions (Genette, Bal, Klaus, Ronen), as indeed the introduction to this special issue has already briefly acknowledged. Narratological study of description has invariably focused on the nineteenth-century novel and its Modernist heirs, and to a lesser extent on the prevalence of description in the nouveau roman (though Genette argues that even there description does not replace narrative but becomes narrativized- "Frontières" 59-60). Extensive work has been done on the enumeration of items in descriptive passages (Hamon, "What is"; Bal 122; Haupt) and on the articulation of themes and subthemes (see Bal and the studies she summarizes; Mosher and Zoran) as well as the elaboration of contiguous features and qualities that serve to expand lists into descriptions in Balzac or Zola (Hamon, Introduction, "What is"). 2 David Lodge, in a brief subsection of The Modes of Modern Writing (93-103), has additionally noted the inherently metonymic character of descriptions (see also Bal 122); not only does the narrative move from one contiguous item to the other but the qualities ascribed to the listed objects tend to become representative of the place or person(s) described. Characters' habits and clothing inevitably signal their morals or beliefs, thus operating on the lines of synecdoche. However, as Lodge notes, these metonymies often congeal into metaphors and symbols (he defines a symbol as a "metaphorical metonymy"-100) since the rhetorical elaboration of the noted objects or features consistently resorts to metaphoric implication. At the same time, Lodge points out that description may sometimes forego the use of tropes but then tends to achieve a generally 'metonymic' effect through the extensive use of "repetition, balance, and antithesis," a strategy-illustrated on the example of E. M. Forster's opening paragraph to A Passage to India-that Lodge regards as "perhaps the nearest thing in prose to 'the projection of the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection into the axis of combination'"

Diachronic Narratology: Late Medieval and Early Modern English Prose Narrative
01 October 2014 - 30 June 2015
30 June 2015
Monika Fludernik
Modern period (1492-1789)
Western Europe
Monika Fludernik et al.