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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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ERIK VAN OOIJEN - Notes on the Conceptualization of Style as Embodied Idiolect in French Structuralism 269


269 ERIK VAN OOIJEN Notes on the Conceptualization of Style as Embodied Idiolect in French Structuralism Traditionally, style has been discussed as a matter of custom and op- tion – what verbal form an author should choose to properly express a certain thought – yet stylistics has also had to account for non- customary and non-optional traits of language and the limits of choice imposed by the habitus, disposition and inclinations of particular per- sons. Similarly, also structuralist narratology, defining the work of art as a set of pure functions combined according to the predictable prin- ciples of a narrative code, has had to account for elements appearing strangely afunctional, idiosyncratic, and unexpected (cf. van Ooijen 2008). Both traditions – stylistics and structural poetics – could be said to account, if often indirectly, for the literary work not only as a conceptually spatial and architectural construct or design, but also as the product of a temporal process constituted by a series of contin- gent situations where an indefinite set of material conditions are in- volved. In a poststructural and neomaterialist fashion, Marianne de Jong (2002) has described the act of writing as “an undefinable but material opening or field in which a potentially limitless and unpre- dictable set of systems intersect”, and she points to “biochemical, psychological, psycho-linguistic or social and cultural” factors as but a few examples of such potential systems. I would argue that a similar understanding is latent in the works of early structuralist narratologists like Roland Barthes and Gérard...

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