In this Book

The Ohio State University Press
summary
The Return of the Omniscient Narrator: Authorship and Authority in Twenty-First Century Fiction by Paul Dawson argues that the omniscient narrator, long considered a relic of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novel, has reemerged as an important feature of contemporary British and American literary fiction. It further argues that the development of contemporary omniscience can be situated in relation to ongoing anxieties about the novel’s decline of cultural authority in the age of digital media. In this context the book identifies and classifies new modes of omniscient narration that are neither nostalgic revivals nor parodic critiques of classic omniscience, but the result of experimentations with narrative voice in the wake of postmodern fiction. To address this phenomenon, the book reformulates existing definitions of literary omniscience, shifting attention away from questions of narratorial knowledge and toward omniscient narration as a rhetorical performance of narrative authority that invokes and projects a historically specific figure of authorship. Through a study of fiction by authors such as Zadie Smith, Jonathan Franzen, Richard Powers, Martin Amis, Rick Moody, Edward P. Jones, and Nicola Barker, the book analyzes how the conventional narrative authority of omniscient narrators is parlayed into claims for the cultural authority of authors and of the novel itself. In the course of its investigation, The Return of the Omniscient Narrator engages with major movements in narrative theory—rhetorical, cognitive, and feminist—to challenge and reconsider many key narratological categories, including Free Indirect Discourse, the relation between voice and focalization, and the narrative communication model. This challenge is framed by an argument for a discursive approach to narrative fiction that addresses the neglect of authorship in narrative theory.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. Title Page, Dedication, Copyright
  2. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. Contents
  2. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. Introduction: The Return of Omniscience in Contemporary Fiction
  2. pp. 1-24
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. 1. Omniscience and Narrative Authority
  2. pp. 25-61
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. 2. The Direct Address and the Ironic Moralist
  2. pp. 62-87
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. 3. Prolepsis and the Literary Historian
  2. pp. 88-110
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. 4. Style and the Pyrotechnic Storyteller
  2. pp. 111-135
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. 5. Polymathic Knowledge, the Immersion Journalist, and the Social Commentator
  2. pp. 136-165
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. 6. Voice and Free Indirect Discourse in Contemporary Omniscient Narration
  2. pp. 166-194
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. 7. Paralepsis and Omniscient Character Narration
  2. pp. 195-221
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. 8. Real Authors and Real Readers: A Discursive Approach to the Narrative Communication Model
  2. pp. 222-246
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 247-250
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 251-254
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 255-266
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. Index
  2. pp. 267-278
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
  1. About the Series, Other Works in the Series
  2. open access
    • Download PDF Download

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814271209
Related ISBN
9780814212332
MARC Record
OCLC
872655351
Pages
312
Launched on MUSE
2014-03-14
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.