Living to Tell about It: A Retoric and Ethcis of Character Narration

Living to Tell about It: A Retoric and Ethcis of Character Narration

by James Phelan
     
 

ISBN-10: 0801489288

ISBN-13: 9780801489280

Pub. Date: 09/28/2004

Publisher: Cornell University Press

In Living to Tell about It, James Phelan takes up the challenges offered by diverse narratives including Kathryn Harrison's The Kiss, Ernest Hemingway's "Now I Lay Me," Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day, Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, and John Edgar Wideman's "Doc's Story." Phelan's

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Overview

In Living to Tell about It, James Phelan takes up the challenges offered by diverse narratives including Kathryn Harrison's The Kiss, Ernest Hemingway's "Now I Lay Me," Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day, Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, and John Edgar Wideman's "Doc's Story." Phelan's compelling readings cover important theoretical ground by introducing a valuable distinction between disclosure functions (communications from the implied author to the authorial audience) and narrator functions (communications from the character narrator to the narratee). Phelan also identifies significant types of character narration (also known as first-person narration), including restricted, suppressed, and mask narrations. In addition, Phelan proposes new understandings of such ingrained concepts of narrative theory as unreliable narration, the implied author, focalization, and lyric narrative.

Utilizing what Phelan and Peter J. Rabinowitz have called "theory practice," a critical method that aims to combine theory and interpretation in mutually illuminating ways, Living to Tell about It also makes a major contribution to ethical theory and criticism. Phelan develops the concept of "ethical position" and explores the interactions among the ethical positions of characters, narrators, authors, and audiences. This approach emphasizes not only the close connections between narrative technique and ethics but also the important interactions between the ethical positions of the authorial audience and the flesh-and-blood reader.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801489280
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
09/28/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Prefaceix
Introduction: Disclosure Functions, Narrator Functions, and the Distinctiveness of Character Narration; Or, A Rhetoric and Ethics of "Barbie-Q"1
1.The Implied Author, Unreliability, and Ethical Positioning: The Remains of the Day31
2.Unreliable Narration, Restricted Narration, and the Implied Author in Memoir: Angela's Ashes and (a Glance at) 'Tis66
3.Dual Focalization, Discourse as Story, and Ethics: Lolita98
4.Suppressed Narration in Confessional Memoir: The Kiss132
5.Progression and Audience Engagement in Lyric Narratives: "Now I Lay Me" and "Doc's Story"158
Epilogue: Serial Narration, Observer Narration, and Mask Narration197
AppendixCharacter Narrators Talking among Themselves, Or, Charlie Marlow, Rhetorical Theorist205
Glossary213
Works Cited221
Index229

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