Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Narrateur et Points De Vue Dans la Litterature Francaise Medievale: Une Aoorice Linguistique

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Narrateur et Points De Vue Dans la Litterature Francaise Medievale: Une Aoorice Linguistique

Article excerpt

Sophie Marnette, Narrateur et points de vue dans la litterature francaise medievale: une approche linguistique (Bern: Peter Lang, 1998). 262 pp. ISBN 3-906760-92-8. L23.00.

This volume adopts the very interesting strategy of analysing narratorial and/ or authorial point of view by applying the techniques and principles of discourse analysis and pragmatics. The introductory chapter is concerned with establishing for readers of medieval literature not familiar with the theory and practice of linguistics the framework within which the following study will be conducted. It is also concerned with theoretical distinctions between author (real and implied or inscribed) and narrator. For the purposes of the book Sophie Marnette ignores questions relating to the first category (`real' or extra-textual author) and conflates the second and third into a universal figure of the narrator, who in epic and similar texts is also equated, perhaps less felicitously, with the jongleur or reciter of the text.

The three main parts of the study look in turn at narratorial control of and commentary on the narrative, the narrator's control of the discourse of characters through the use of direct, indirect, and free indirect speech, and finally the question of location of the source of point of view in relation to the narrative and the discourse of the characters. One way in which the underlying linguistic theory is narrowed for application is that little attention is paid to context (micro or macro) in the analyses, which tend to rely on a statistical approach to the use of verb forms and tenses, or, for direct and indirect speech, the presence or absence of a verbum dicendi and the use of certain deictics of time and place to indicate means of narratorial control and comment. The statistical bases of the study are well represented by the twenty-- two column-graphs, which reveal some interesting distinctions between groups of texts, but which, by compiling information rather than figuring the cluster and scatter of information, sometimes give a misleading view of relationships between works. …

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