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A “fucked up” novel, narratology, and the Difference approach to literary fiction
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1267-0031
2017 (English)In: Frontiers of Narrative Studies, E-ISSN 2509-4890, Vol. 3, no 2, p. 256-272Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Drömfakulteten (2006) is an experimental novel by the Swedish writer Sara Stridsberg portraying the life of political activist and writer Valerie Solanas. I read Drömfakulteten as a “literary fantasy” where the forms, the themes, and the atmosphere are foregrounded rather than the biography of Solanas, and suggest that it can be viewed as a deliberate work of art filled with affordances for the reader. Central to my analysis is the recurring idea of “fucking up” as a way of disobeying social, political, and literary (narrative) norms. In relation to narratology, I take on the novel with a Difference approach to fiction, guided by notions from Sylvie Patron, Lars-Åke Skalin, and Richard Walsh. In this approach, fiction is seen as functioning differently in a qualitative sense compared to natural narrative. The Difference approach leads to a reading that lies close to the intuitions of reviewers and highlights the strong literary potential of the novel.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mouton de Gruyter, 2017. Vol. 3, no 2, p. 256-272
Keywords [en]
Affordances, Difference approach, Drömfakulteten, literary fiction, narrativity
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-63380DOI: 10.1515/fns-2017-0017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-63380DiVA, id: diva2:1166221
Available from: 2017-12-14 Created: 2017-12-14 Last updated: 2019-10-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Difference Approach to Narrative Fiction: A Recurring Critique of Narratology and Its Implications for the Study of Novels and Short Stories
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Difference Approach to Narrative Fiction: A Recurring Critique of Narratology and Its Implications for the Study of Novels and Short Stories
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to advance the critical examination of narratology, or the study of storytelling. I analyze four versions of a critique of the dominant theory of narrative fiction in narratology and discuss this critique’s methodological implications. The critics, Sylvie Patron, Lars-Åke Skalin, Richard Walsh, and the proponents of unnatural narratology have, I suggest, similar understandings of narratology’s handling of works like novels and short stories as well as similar alternative approaches. I situate the critique among relevant theories of fiction and salient aspects of narratology, and conclude that the most radical critics have a difference approach to narrative fiction. This means treating this literary practice as following another rule system for creating meaning than other kinds of storytelling. These critics seem to base their reasoning on their readerly intuitions about how novels and short stories function; yet their approach also lends itself to, for instance, discussions on how such works afford life visions or worldviews. In contrast to this approach, I describe narratology, in the critics’ view, as having a sameness approach that treats narrative fiction as a subtype of “narrative” in the sense of the communication of events by a narrator.

The three opening articles of the thesis comprise a metadiscussion of the critique. I here describe, in part with Greger Andersson, the critics’ ideas, characterize the critique as a whole, and speculate about why it has had no apparent effect on narratology. The two latter articles utilize the difference approach in analyses of Angela Carter’s “The Loves of Lady Purple” and Sara Stridsberg’s Drömfakulteten (The Faculty of Dreams) while discussing narratological concepts and issues. Future studies might continue this discussion or inquire further about, for example, the relations between different narrative practices or what role different intuitions about narrative fiction play in descriptions and analyses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2019. p. 129
Series
Örebro Studies in Literary History and Criticism, ISSN 1650-5840 ; 13
Keywords
Angela Carter, narrative fiction, narrative theory, narratology, Sylvie Patron, Lars-Åke Skalin, Sara Stridsberg, unnatural narratology, Richard Walsh
National Category
General Literature Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-75851 (URN)978-91-7529-297-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-10-18, Örebro universitet, Forumhuset, Hörsal F, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-08-23 Created: 2019-08-23 Last updated: 2019-10-10Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
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More styles
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  • de-DE
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf