WiSe 14/15: S-Literary Studies:Theories of Narrative Voice
André Otto/Jeff Thoss
This course introduces students to theories of one of the most central categories in narrative theory - voice. Ever since Plato, mediation has been one of the defining characteristics of narrative ... read more
This course introduces students to theories of one of the most central categories in narrative theory - voice. Ever since Plato, mediation has been one of the defining characteristics of narrative texts, and the conceptualisation of the narrative instance has been the founding moment of narratology. As the term storytelling implies, narrative is typically considered to be (a representation of) an oral activity of somebody telling a story to someone else, and even when we read texts, we seem to be "hearing voices". The course aims at examining to what extent voice is a metaphorical concept in theorizing narrative. We will be looking at approaches to voice both from narratology proper as well as from philosophy. The texts will range from Plato to classical narratology (Genette), poststructuralism (Derrida) and its precursors (Blanchot) as well as post-classical narrative theory (natural/unnatural narratology). We will deal with issues such as the relationship between voice and writing, the (inevitable?) anthropomorphism of voice, the cognitive processing and construction of narrative mediation and the ideological implications of one or many voices in a text. Our mainly theoretical focus will be supplemented by exemplary readings of short stories by Thomas Hardy, Katherine Mansfield and Samuel Beckett.
Participants will have to meet the standard requirements: regular attendance, response papers and a presentation are obligatory, credits can be obtained by submitting a term paper.