Elusive Narrators in Literature

George M. Wilson

in Seeing Fictions in Film

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594894
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731440 | DOI:
Elusive Narrators in Literature

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If movies have narrators at all, then characteristically they will be rather radically effaced. A number of important critics (Noël Carroll, Berys Gaut, Andrew Kania) have written skeptically about the reasonableness of postulating “effaced” narrators even in literature. They hold that these same objections apply in spades to purportedly effaced narrators in movies. In doing so, they have raised fundamental issues about the concept of “narration” as it applies to literary fictions. The author argues that their objections are misconceived, and, in addition, replies to some related objections that bear on other aspects of the basic relation between narration and narrators. This chapter bears mostly on the theory of narrative fiction for literature, but parallel issues about movies recur in the next chapter.

Keywords: effaced narrator; minimal narrating agency; character narrator; Seymour Chatman; Andrew Kania; Berys Gaut; Jerrold Levinson; Realistic Heuristic

Chapter.  9734 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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