Narrative Theory in Light of Contemporary Narrative Practice

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Title: Narrative Theory in Light of Contemporary Narrative Practice
Creators: Dieter, Scott
Advisor: Herman, David
Issue Date: 2011-06
Abstract: Over the past few decades, the corpus of stories being investigated by scholars of narrative has grown to include a wide range of genres and media. As this corpus of narratives expands, existing theories of narrative must be revisited and in some cases modified to account for new narrative phenomena. In this study, I consider the challenges posed to existing theories of narrative by three contemporary examples of experimental storytelling: Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. In my first chapter, I show how Christian Moraru’s concept of the postmodern rewrite enriches our understanding of each of my three case studies, but also how my case studies invite an expansion of Moraru’s framework. In my second chapter, I use my case studies to show how existing theories of reader response must be expanded to consider the process of rereading. Finally, in my third chapter, I draw on the work of Dorrit Cohn, Marie-Laure Ryan, and Lubomír Doležel to explore how fictional and factual worlds overlap in each of my three case studies, and also how my case studies complicate these existing frameworks. Further, because Bechdel's text is a graphic memoir, each chapter of my study also considers how issues of medium specificity affect concepts of narrative. More generally, my project explores how existing theories of narrative can yield a productive analysis of each of my three case studies, but also how the three texts can be used to generate new questions for scholars of story.
Embargo: No embargo
Series/Report no.: The Ohio State University. Department of English Honors Theses; 2011
Keywords: Narrative Theory
Literary criticism
Sponsors: Undergraduate Research Scholarship
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