This essay challenges a recent trend in postclassical narratology, namely an over-expansionist tendency, in which even lyric poetry comes to be seen as yet another form of narrative. The hypothesis pursued here is: while some lyric poetry contains narrative elements, this genre is not typically narrative and therefore narratological terminology should be applied, if at all, with more circumspection than shown in some recent research. On the basis of prototype-theoretical descriptions of both narrative and lyric poetry, this essay discusses the elusive literary macro-genre "lyric poetry," its typical features, and their relationship to the typical characteristics of narrative as a semiotic macro-mode, as well as the pros and cons of alleged lyric narrativity. It is argued, among other things, that the content of lyric poetry is not eventful in the way characteristic of narratives and hardly contains suspenseful stories. However, some ambivalence applies. There are cases in which narrative elements and narrativity as such can nevertheless be discerned in poetry even outside ballads, but these are much rarer than in the competing literary macro-genres drama and fiction. Thus, rather than aligning poetry as a whole indiscriminately with narrativity, one may claim at best that some poetry is moderately "narrativity-inducing." Indeed, in the field of literature, when it comes to the relationship between macro-genres and semiotic macro-forms, lyric poetry may be considered to cater to the "others" of narrative, notably description, argument, or the expression of states of mind, including emotions. All of this also bespeaks the need of a "lyrology" independent of, and parallel to, narratology.


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pp. 143-173
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