In literature the very act of narration often constitutes a theme:
everyone is familiar with narration that interrupts the story, that
provides an ironic gloss on the action, that exposes the narrator,
that serves to deceive. In "Narrative as Theme" Gerald Prince
offers the first book-length study of the theme of narrative and of
the relationship between narrative and truth in fiction.
In the first part, theoretical in nature, Prince considers the
notion of theme as well as the theme of narrative itself, surveys
the research that has come out of that notion, and isolates
starting points for the investigation of narrative as theme. Of
particular interest to narratologists will be his discussion of the
"disnarrated," all those passages of a text that consider what did
not or does not happen but oculd have. He shows how the disnarrated
is an important guide to reading the theme of narrative. The second
part focuses on seven French novels: Mme de Lafayette's "La
Princesse de Cleves," Voltaire's "Candide," "Flaubert's Madame
Bovary," Sartre's "La Nausee," Maupassant's "Bel-Ami," Claude
Simon's "La Route des Flandres," and Patrick Modiano's "Rue des
Boutiques Obscures," Written in first and third person, absorbed or
not in the act of narration, variously concerned with history,
ethics, and psychology, these classical, modern, and postmodern
works exemplify basic positions with regard to the truth or value
His "Dictionary of Narratology," published by the University of
Nebraska Press in 1987, confirmed Gerald Prince as one of the
world's leading narratologists.
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