1st Edition

Discourse and Style What Narratology and Stylistics Can Do for Each Other

By Dan Shen Copyright 2025
    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines the overlaps, differences, and complementarities between narratology and stylistics, and shows the consequences of this examination for the practical analysis of prose narrative.

    Narratology identifies discourse as one of its two main objects of study (story being the other), and stylistics, of course, designates style as its concern. Too often, however, work in each of these fields proceeds without attention to developments in the other. This book corrects that situation by looking beneath the superficial similarities between the “discourse” of narratology and the “style” of fictional stylistics. The author shows that the two seemingly interchangeable terms actually refer to different textual elements. For example, both narratology and stylistics identify point of view as an important element of discourse and style, respectively, but each approach conceives of it differently and thus analyzes it differently. The book argues that the different analyses are complementary and shows how they can be brought together. This synthesis leads to richer conceptions of point of view as well as more comprehensive and precise analyses of its functions and effects in individual narratives.

    For its theoretical and interpretive contributions, the book will appeal to scholars and students in narrative studies, literary stylistics, and literary theory and criticism.

    1. Introduction  2. Distinction and relation between narratology’s story and discourse  3. Difference between narratology’s discourse and fictional stylistics’ style  4. Existing interdisciplinary studies between narratology and stylistics  5. Two most notable overlapping areas between discourse and stylem  6. Point of view/focalization: distinction and classification  7. Difference behind similarity: third-person center of consciousness and first-person retrospective narration  8. Modes of point of view or focalization: functions and effects  9. Transgressions of modes of point of view or focalization  10. Modes of speech presentation: functions and effects  11. Peculiarities of speech presentation in Chinese prose fiction  12. Conclusion


    Dan Shen is Boya Chair Professor of English at Peking University, China. She is on the advisory boards of Narrative and Style, the editorial board of Language and Literature. She has published nine books, including Style and Rhetoric of Short Narrative Fiction: Covert Progressions Behind Overt Plots and Dual Narrative Dynamics with Routledge.