Narratology and the Study of Lyric poetry/Narratologie En Die Studie Van Liriese Poesie

Article excerpt


This article provides a brief discussion of the theoretical and historical underpinnings of the study of narrativity in lyric poetry. As part of the justification of studying narrative aspects of lyric poetry, reference is made to contemporary paradigms in postclassical narratology of which transgeneric narratology is one. The project titled, "Verse and narrative: narrative structures and techniques in lyric poetry", from which the articles in this issue emanated, is described briefly by presenting the objectives of the research and by discussing the theoretical and historical implications of such a project. The theoretical part of the article concludes with a list of the preliminary findings. The article also serves as an introduction to this issue of "Literator", which contains the contributions on English and Dutch texts to the project.


Hierdie artikel bevat 'n saaklike bespreking van die teoretiese en historiese aspekte van die bestudering van narratiwiteit in liriese poesie. In die motivering van die geldigheid van so 'n ondersoek, word verwys na die dominante paradigmas in postklassieke narratologie, waarvan transgeneriese narratologie een is. Die navorsingsprojek, "Vers en verhaal: narratiewe strukture en tegnieke in liriese poesie", waarvan die artikels in hierdie uitgawe van "Literator" deel vorm, word beskryf deur die doelstellings van die navorsing te gee en die teoretiese en historiese implikasies van die navorsing te verduidelik. Die teoretiese gedeelte van die artikel sluit af met 'n lys voorlopige bevindings. Die artikel dien ook as inleiding tot hierdie nommer van "Literator" waarin die bydraes tot die projek wat handel oor Nederlandse en Engelse literatuur, opgeneem is.

1. Introduction

Narratology, originally defined as the theory of narrative texts (Bal, 1985:12) and as the study of the form and functioning of narrative (Prince, 1982:4; Du Plooy, 1986:274, 278), has, since the early days of its structuralist origins, proved itself a versatile discipline, adapting to and incorporating a variety of other theoretical approaches and contextual impulses and demands over the past three decades (Huhn et al., 2009). The scope of the basic narratological models has been extended to include and accommodate a variety of theories, concepts and analytic procedures. Contemporary narratology or postclassical narratology therefore includes a variety of "new narratologies" which can, according to Meister (2009:340), be grouped into three dominant paradigms:

* Contextual narratology is directed at cultural, historical and ideoIogical issues and concerns itself, apart from structural aspects, with the thematic and ideological content of narrative texts.

* Cognitive narratology extends its focus from literary narratives to "natural" narratives and oral narrative, assuming that these narratives represent a basic anthropological competence and that studying these forms of narrative provides insight into "the human and intellectual processing of narratives" (Meister, 2009: 340). Knowledge of the structure of the thought processes which underlie the making and understanding of stories is also used in the modelling and simulation of human narrative intelligence in the development of various forms of artificial intelligence.

* Transgeneric and transmedial approaches in narratology are concerned with the application of narratological concepts to genres and media which are not primarily regarded as narrative, but do possess narrative aspects. The application, adaptation and reformulation of narratological concepts for optimal functionality in the analyses and interpetation of poetry, drama, film, the visual arts, dance and games form part of the transgenerical and transmedial narratological project.

2. The project: Verse and narrative: narrative structures and techniques in lyric poetry

The articles in this issue of Literator form part of a research project titled, Vers en verhaal: narratiewe strukture en tegnieke in liriese poesie (Verse and narrative: narrative structures and techniques in lyric poetry). …


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