Narratology: An Introduction

By Susana Onega ; Jose Angel Garcia Landa | Go to book overview

instance and the more silent its evocation in the narrative, so undoubtedly the easier, or rather the more irresistible, each real reader's identification with or substitution for that implied instance will be. [. . .]


Notes
1.
For example, TODOROV, "'Les Catégories du Récit Littéraire,'" Communications 8 ( 1966): 146-7.
2.
On the Thousand and One Nights, see TODOROV, "'Narrative-Men,'" in The Poetics of Prose, trans. Richard Howard ( Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press; Oxford: Blackwell, 1977): 'The record [for embedding] seems to be held by the narrative which offers us the story of the bloody chest. Here

Scheherazade tells that
Jaafer tells that
the tailor tells that
the barber tells that
his brother (and he has six brothers) tells that . . .

The last story is a story to the fifth degree' (p. 71). But the term 'embedding' does not do justice to the fact precisely that each of these stories is at a higher 'degree' than the preceding one, since its narrator is a character in the preceding one; for stories can also be 'embedded' at the same level, simply by digression, without any shift in the narrating instance: see Jacques parentheses in the Fataliste.

3.
This is what I will call the receiver of the narrative, patterned after the contrast between sender and receiver proposed by A. J. GREIMAS ( Sémantique structurale ( Paris, 1966), p. 177).
4.
Certain uses of the present tense do indeed connote temporal indefiniteness (and not simultaneousness between story and narrating), but curiously they seem reserved for very particular forms of narrative (joke, riddle, scientific problem or experiment, plot summary) and literature does not have much investment in them. The case of the 'narrative present' with preterite value is also different.
5.
I borrow the term 'predictive' from TODOROV, Grammaire du Décaméron ( The Hague, 1969), p. 48, to designate any kind of narrative where the narrating precedes the story.
6.
Radio or television reporting is obviously the most perfectly live form of this kind of narrative, where the narrating follows so closely on the action that it can be considered practically simultaneous, whence the use of the present tense. We find a curious literary use of simultaneous narrative in chapter 29 of Ivanhoe, where Rebecca is telling the wounded Ivanhoe all about the battle taking place at the foot of the castle, a battle she is following from the window.
7.
All written in the present tense except Le Voyeur, whose temporal system, as we know, is more complex.
8.
The Spanish picaresque seems to form a notable exception to this 'rule,' at any rate Lazarillo, which ends in suspense ('It was the time of my prosperity, and I

-187-

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