Narrative and normative pattern: On interpreting fiction

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Interpretive disputes about the text’s implied normative framework (its aesthetics, realitymodel, ideology) often involve the reliability of the fictive narrator who mediates between interpreter and author. Narrative and normative reconstruction must go together. But how to determine the relations between the text’s overt (narratorial) and implicit (authorial) frameworks, considering that the one can never be taken on trust and the other can never speak except through its questionable proxy? We have here two modes of discourse, one given (in or as the fiction) and the other hypothetical (behind the fiction). As regards the norms of literary communication, the first mode depends for its reliability on the second; as regards the forms of literary communication, the second depends for its discovery on the first.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-41
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Literary Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1987


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