The Narrator: A Problem in Narrative Theory

TitleThe Narrator: A Problem in Narrative Theory
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsPatron, S
Series TitleFrontiers of Narrative
Number of Volumes1
Number of Pages386
PublisherUniversity of Nebraska Press

The narrator (the answer to the question “who speaks in the text?”) is a commonly used notion in teaching literature and in literary criticism, even though it is the object of an ongoing debate in narrative theory. Do all fictional narratives have a narrator, or only some of them? Can narratives thus be “narratorless”? This question divides communicational theories (based on the communication between real or fictional narrator and narratee) and noncommunicational or poetic theories (which aim to rehabilitate the function of the author as the creator of the fictional narrative).

Clarifying the notion of the narrator requires a historical and epistemological approach focused on the opposition between communicational theories of narrative in general and noncommunicational or poetic theories of the fictional narrative in particular. The Narrator offers an original and critical synthesis of the problem of the narrator in the work of narratologists and other theoreticians of narrative communication from the French, Czech, German, and American traditions and in representations of the noncommunicational theories of fictional narrative. Sylvie Patron provides linguistic and pragmatic tools for interrogating the concept of the narrator based on the idea that fictional narrative has the power to signal, by specific linguistic marks, that the reader must construct a narrator; when these marks are missing, the reader is able to perceive other forms and other narrative effects, specially sought after by certain authors.

About us

ENN is the European Narratology Network, an association of individual narratologists and narratological institutions. ENN aims to foster the study of narrative representation in literature, film, digital media, etc. across all European languages and cultures.