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Disputable Core Concepts of Narrative Theory

Edited By Göran Rossholm and Christer Johansson

The present volume is a contribution to the theory of narrative by scholars from various disciplines, mainly scholars from Comparative Literature but also contributors from Philosophy, Psychology and the languages. The essays focus on central terms and concepts in narrative theory over the last forty years. Established narratological concepts, such as narrative, narrator, story, fiction, character, narrative (un)reliability and point of view, but also relational concepts motivated by the expansion of narratology, such as narrative and non-verbal media, narrative and personal identity and narrative and literary genre, are themes dealt with.
In addition to presenting a critical examination of the core concepts of narrative theory, the volume is a demonstration of the vigour of contemporary Nordic narrative theory. The authors work at universities in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and they all belong to the Nordic Network of Narrative Studies.


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STEN WISTRAND - Time for Departure? The Principle of Minimal Departure –a Critical Examination 15


STEN WISTRAND Time for Departure? The Principle of Minimal Departure – a Critical Examination [The inn-keeper] asked him also, whether he had any money about him. Don Quixote replied, he had not a farthing, having never read in the histories of knight-errant, that they carried any. To this the host replied, he was under a mistake; for, supposing it was not mentioned in the story, the author thinking it superfluous to specify a thing so plain, and so indispensably necessary to be carried, as money and clean shirts, it was not therefore to be inferred, that they had none: and therefore he might be assured, that all the knights-errant (of whose actions there are such authentic histories) did carry their purses well lined for whatever might befall them; and they also carried shirts [. . .]. (Cervantes 1998, 33) A narrative, fictional or not, is usually understood as a “recounting” (Prince 2003, 58). A modern and often cited definition is this one by James Phelan: “somebody telling somebody else on some occasion and for some purpose that something happened” (Phelan 2004, 631). Already in 1980 Nicholas Wolterstorff summarized this as “the ortho- dox view” on the matter, adding that he himself found it a “most surprising” thesis (Wolterstorff 1980, 170–172). Every concept defining narratives as being about something im- plies the existence of gaps in the rendering, the possible existence of more, but on this occasion not delivered, information. Related to, you might even say part and parcel of, this idea is the...

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