This essay assumes the possibility of establishing a fruitful mutual relationship between narratology and autobiographical illness narratives. Within this relationship, it focuses on several ways in which the latter illuminate, and sometimes problematize, central notions in narratology and narrative theory. The main issues explored are 1) the complex interaction between the collapse of the body and that of the narrative, and its implications for the interplay between order and contingency; 2) the resistance of a disintegrating body to both verbalization and narration, as well as its paradoxical articulation in language and narrative; 3) the potential undermining of the author-reader "contract" by a blunt narration of disturbing physical details; and 4) the ethical and psychological risks involved in texts where flesh-and-blood readers are also (fictional?) characters, and the pain, misunderstandings, and erasures such implicated readers may experience in the reception.


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pp. 241-254
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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