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Fabula and fictionality in narrative theory

Walsh, R. (2001) Fabula and fictionality in narrative theory. Style, 35 (4). pp. 592-606. ISSN 0039-4238

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Abstract

The concept of fabula, or its many near equivalents, has always been a staple of narrative theory, yet it is vulnerable to many theoretical objections. It is possible to justify a rhetorical view of the concept's pragmatic value, and so its particular relevance to fiction, but only once various flawed notions of fabula have been eliminated. Some of these relate back quite directly to its Russian Formalist roots, but others have arisen through Structuralist mediations of the concept (in the guise of such pairs as "story" and "discourse"). The inadequacies of these models are manifest in fabula's relationship to event, chronology, temporality, causality, perspective, medium, and the genesis of narrative. The concept remains valuable, however, in respect of its role in interpretation, especially in the case of fictional narrative. The rhetorical basis of this view of fabula and its relation to sujet effectively overturns the logical hierarchy of previous representational models.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2009 11:39
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2009 11:39
Status: Published
Publisher: Northern Illinois University
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7579

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