The Narratology of Observation: Studies in a Technique of European Literary Realism

The Narratology of Observation: Studies in a Technique of European Literary Realism

by Martin Wagner


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783110595185
Publisher: De Gruyter
Publication date: 11/05/2018
Series: Paradigms Series , #7
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

How can literature show us a world that appears 'real'?
The basic premise of this book is that literature, in order to achieve this goal, has to emulate the way we experience the world visually, bringing curious objects to our attention and showing us how these objects develop over time. In terms of narratology, this means that literature must find ways to combine a vivid description of new images with a narrative in which these images are set in motion. This book thus moves beyond established approaches that associate realism’s visuality with description alone to argue that the imitation of visual perception is the product precisely of the combination of description with narration – a technique introduced here as literary observation. Through readings of European fiction from the early eighteenth to the late nineteenth centuries, this book explores how this technique is supported – and complicated – by a range of cultural and literary expectations.
Combining recent work in the history of knowledge with traditional questions of literary theory, The Narratology of Observation expands the conceptual vocabulary for analyzing fiction and offers new insights into the study of European realism.

Table of Contents

Table of Figures ix

Introduction 1

Literary observation 1

An example 2

Observation and literary realism 6

Scientific observation 10

Observation in science and literature 15

Observation and pragmatographia 18

Competing concepts of observation 22

The chapters of this book 27

Chapter 1 Description and Narration 32

The functions of description 32

What do we see when we read a description? 39

Description, narration, and literary realism 45

Chapter 2 Before Observation (Le Diable boiteux) 57

The pleasure of seeing 61

Pleasure and instruction 67

Making images 69

Observation in Le Diable boiteux 73

The legacy of Le Diable boiteux 77

Chapter 3 Observation (Les Nuits de Paris) 81

Spectatorship 85

Observation 89

Storytelling 93

Chapter 4 Failing Observations 101

Die Leiden des jungen Werthers 104

Lenz 122

"The Man of the Crowd" 130

Chapter 5 Another Form of Observation? (Sherlock Holmes) 143

Sherlock Holmes observes the crime scene 145

Observation or classification? 149

Conclusion: Literary Observation after 1900 165

Bibliography 173

Index 182

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