Analyzing World Fiction
New Horizons in Narrative Theory
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Texas Press
Title Page, Copyright
Table of Contents
How to Use This Book
The impulse behind the essays collected in Analyzing World Fiction: New Horizons in Narrative Theory spins out of a symposium sponsored by Project Narrative, "Multicultural Narratives and Narrative Theory." This symposium, held at the Ohio State University during Oct. 25 - 27, 2007, brought together scholars from around the world working in...
PART I. VOICE
CHAPTER 1. U.S. Ethnic and Postcolonial Fiction: Toward a Poetics of Collective Narratives
Books and journal articles on narrative theory have largely neglected postcolonial literature until very recently (e.g., Prince, "Postcolonial Narratology"; Gymnich); nevertheless, some of the most fascinating narrative experiments have been conducted by postcolonial authors. The same is largely true for U.S. ethnic literature, though in this case the...
CHAPTER 2. Language Peculiarities and Challenges to Universal Narrative Poetics
In the early 1960s through 1970s, classical narratologists primarily sought to establish a universal grammar of narrative and a poetics of fiction. Although postclassical narratologists have increasingly engaged in narrative criticism, they have continued seeking to establish various models of narrative poetics, though with more modest claims...
CHAPTER 3. Reading Narratologically: Azouz Begag's Le Gone du Chaâba
Narratology characterizes and articulates narratively relevant features such as the orders in which narrated situations and events can be arranged, the points of view in terms of which they can be depicted, or the different speeds at which they can be related in order to account for the ways all and only narratives are configured and make sense. It...
CHAPTER 4. Jasmine Reconsidered: Narrative Structure and Multicultural Subjectivity
For the moment, the heroine of Jasmine stood out in popular fiction as a one-woman figure for the South Asian diaspora, and the novel's thematic focus on Jasmine's shifting sense of herself offered up the text to the preoccupation with identity politics that dominated literary criticism during the 1990s...
CHAPTER 5. Voice, Politics, and Judgments in Their Eyes Were Watching God: The Initiation, the Launch, and the Debate about the Narration
Indeed, in Hurston's case, voice stands at the center of an ongoing debate about the nature, power, and limits of the novel's formal achievement and its politics. While most critics follow Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s lead in finding much to admire about Hurston's handling of voice, many, including Mary Helen Washington...
CHAPTER 6. Narrating Multiculturalism in British Media: Voice and Cultural Identity in Television Documentary and Comedy
The slow rise to visibility of ethnic minorities in British culture has been well documented, both in secondary texts (Bourne; Daniels and Gerson; Gillespie; Malik; Pines) and in fictional autobiographical narratives such as Meera Syal's Anita and Me. In one key passage of Syal's text, Meena, the protagonist, describes the virtual absence of Asian and black faces in...
PART II. EMOTION
CHAPTER 7. Anger, Temporality, and the Politics of Reading The Woman Warrior
When I teach The Autobiography of Malcolm X and The Woman Warrior in my American literature survey course, students invariably tend to do two things: they evince surprise that Malcolm X is so much less angry than they had expected, and they want to read The Woman Warrior as being about the cultural differences between China and the United...
CHAPTER 8. Agency and Emotion: R. K. Narayan's The Guide
In her essay "Identity/Alterity," Monika Fludernik says that "more radical postcolonial texts [. . .] demonstrate their independence from the West by choosing to militate against patterns of colonial literature [by] writing [not] in English but in one of the native languages" as well as by focusing on native protagonists "exclusively" (270). Fludernik first cites...
CHAPTER 9. The Narrativization of National Metaphors in Indian Cinema
As writers such as Salman Rushdie and Benedict Anderson have stressed, nations are communities that we can never experience directly. We can only imagine them. It should come as no surprise, then, that we rely on metaphors to understand the nation. Needless to say, nationalists draw on a variety of models to represent the nation. However, there are...
CHAPTER 10. Fear and Action: A Cognitive Approach to Teaching Children of Men
I teach in a predominantly white and affluent public university in a state that is quite diverse. The Republican domination on tax-revenue limits for higher education spending has caused a disproportionate amount of CU-Boulder's operating budget to be driven by out-of-state tuition, thus filling the campus with students drawn predominantly from...
PART III. COMPARISONS AND CONTRASTS
CHAPTER 11. The Postmodern Continuum of Canon and Kitsch: Narrative and Semiotic Strategies of Chicana High Culture and Chica Lit
Written in an Albuquerque Starbucks cafe in only six days, The Dirty Girls Social Club (2003) garnered Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez a $500,000 advance from St. Martin's Press after a fierce bidding war. Sandra Cisneros, in contrast, spent nine years writing her long-awaited novel Caramelo, published by Knopf in 2002. While Cisneros's work occupies a...
CHAPTER 12. Initiating Dialogue: Narrative Beginnings in Multicultural Narratives
According to Edward Said in his seminal study Beginnings: Intention and Method, "we can regard a beginning as the point at which, in a given work, the writer departs from all other works." Beginnings, he argues, "immediately establish relationships with works already existing, relationships of either continuity or antagonism or some mixture of...
CHAPTER 13. "It's Badly Done": Redefining Craft in America Is in the Heart
In my experience of teaching Carlos Bulosan's America Is in the Heart (1946), a cornerstone of the Asian American literary canon, I have found that students repeatedly raise the following issues and questions. This fictional autobiography of a Filipino immigrant's experiences in 1930s America inevitably provokes intense feelings about and a deep...
CHAPTER 14. Nobody Knows: Invisible Man and John Okada's No-No Boy
"I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well, if that's the idea you can count me out. . . . Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and institutions, and next they'll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white" (Fitzgerald). So says Tom Buchanan...
CHAPTER 15. Intertextuality, Translation, and Postcolonial Misrecognition in Aimé Césaire
In American and British universities, Une Tempête (A Tempest) is by far the most taught and discussed of Césaire's four plays (counting the dramatic poem Et les chiens se taisaient [And the Dogs Were Silent]). There have been three English translations of Une Tempête, two of which are in print and readily available. La Tragédie du roi Christophe...
AFTERWORD. How This Book Reads You: Looking beyond Analyzing World Fiction: New Horizons in Narrative Theory
After glimpsing the "new horizons" through the words of Frederick Aldama and his intrepid crew of fiercely intelligent critics, what is left to be seen or said about what we have seen? The worlds of literature are changing, or (to adapt Salvador Plascencia's visionary fictional nightmare) the people of paper are evolving, and the tools we use to parse these...
Works Cited and Filmography
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Cognitive Approaches to Literature and Culture Series
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