2 Replies to “Narrative Theory @Wayback Machine”

  1. José Angel,

    I am intrigued in this intro to narrative theory by the description of Genette on description and its relation to narration:

    Genette argues that description is not opposed to narration in its representative technique, since it too must be submitted to the successivity of language. But the successive nature of the descriptive discourse does not blur the frontiers between narration and description only: any other structure which is linguistically conveyed will have to travel in time with the chain of speech. And what if we consider the narrative versus the descriptive elements in a picture, where there is no temporal development in the signifier? The opposition between a descriptive element, such as the colour of a figure, and a narrative element (the mythological anecdote of a Renaissance picture, for instance) is still pertinent. Therefore, the difference between narration and description is to be regarded as a difference between the represented signifieds. In the case of narration, the basic articulations of the text are events; in the case of description, the structure is a non-sequential pattern of traits. The opposition between events and traits absolute precisely because it is not an opposition between given elements; it is conceptual and therefore ideal.

    I am intrigued by the example of the picture and would suggest a distinction can be made between the picture and perception of the picture. The picture (like a narrative) can be regarded as an a-temporal structure but the perception of the picture takes place in time (much like a narration unfolds). Doesn’t narrative theory need to take into account not only the “described” but also the “description” and would not these be cases of narrative & narration?

    Thank you for posting these notes from the course you taught. They are helping me with revisiting the notion of narration.


  2. The temporal aspect of narration allows us to approach the description/narration relations from another angle:


    A widened understanding of narration (that includes acts of description) allows us to see narration as the process that generates world, game and narrative. Narrativity is the potential, narration is the (temporal) process and world, game or narrative are the products (figurations).

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