Abstract

Starting out with the observation that collective storytelling has only recently received sufficient narratological attention, this article outlines the pervasiveness of plural subjects in factual narratives and their comparative lack of salience in fictional texts. Discussing the collective on the levels of agency, mind, and narration, the article examines the alternation between plural and singular referents, using crowd scenes as illustrative example. It then turns to we-texts and the ambiguities of the first-person plural pronoun both on the plot and the narrational levels. The final section of the article compares factual and fictional collective narration, emphasizing how fictional we-narratives exceed familiar grammatical constraints in order to achieve particular semantic and narrative effects. The essay is a preliminary step in the development of a poetics of collective narrative, both factual and fictional.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-974X
Print ISSN
1063-3685
Pages
pp. 139-163
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-25
Open Access
No
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