Against the backdrop of a recent return to the institutional conditions of literature and an extension of the discipline of narratology, this essay retrieves Gérard Genette's concept of the paratext. It does so by centering on the relation between literary narration and paratexts and by discussing the implications of this relation for notions of authorship. On the one hand, the paratext can be usefully deployed for challenging the confines of classical narratology: once the channels between paratext and text are recognized and opened, the status of narratological categories such as character, event, and narration needs to be reassessed. On the other hand, Genette's concept helps expose the conditions of contemporary literary historiographies, to the extent that it maps the functions of authorship and the institutional contexts of literary production and reception. Dave Eggers's Zeitoun serves as a case study to explore some concrete manifestations of paratexts. Claiming both the literary and the nonfictional, Zeitoun mobilizes various paratextual layers to negotiate Eggers's authorship and the cultural status of the independent publisher McSweeney's, and to foreground the link between literary and political hermeneutics.


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pp. 63-80
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