Focusing on texts that blend fictional and autobiographical material, this article examines cases in which a character and an overt third-person narrator sound alike, such that instability in mood and inconsistency in voice result. Hypothetically, these phenomena—indeterminate focalization and voice contamination—can be chalked up to the quasi-autobiographical nature of the text and to the author’s presumptive identification with both narrator and character. The phenomena can occur accidentally, but they can also be deployed intentionally for effect in fiction as well as in works that blend autobiography and fiction. Such mood and voice anomalies lead, given the “narrator’s” unstable characterization and heterogeneous discourse, to a closer look at the assumption that such texts have a narrator in addition to an author. In this article, I question classical narratology’s attribution of a narrator to every work of fiction and propose alternatives that acknowledge authors’ textual practices. This study contributes to recent narratological research on focalization, voice, the narrator, and autobiography.


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pp. 182-202
Launched on MUSE
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