In this article we examine the critical proposition that common versions of narratology do not provide an accurate description of narrative fiction and analyze why this critique has mostly been disregarded by narratology. The theoreticians we refer to—Sylvie Patron, Richard Walsh, and Lars-Åke Skalin—do not accept the notion that narrative fiction should be understood in terms of non-fictional narratives. We label their position a “difference approach” in contrast to a putative “sameness approach.” We find their “difference” arguments convincing and therefore ask why they have had no apparent effect on narratology. As we discuss misreadings that the criticized approach to narrative fiction could be expected to generate and arguments that refute the existence of such misreadings, as well as suggested readings of narrative fiction by Liesbeth Korthals Altes, James Phelan, David Herman, and Gérard Genette, we make the claim, referring to Phelan’s rhetorical narratology, that sameness narratology is often presented as a theory but in fact used and defended as a method or toolbox. Our suggestion is that it would be better to rework the theory of narrative fiction commonly adopted by narratologists so that the theoretical assertions become congruent with the analytical practice and with the intuitions about narrative fiction that the analytical practice implies. We thus support the difference approach.


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pp. 241-261
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