Dual Narrative Dynamics
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Combining narratological and stylistic methods, this book theorizes dual narrative dynamics consisting of plot development and covert progression and demonstrates the consequences for the interpretation of literary works.
In narratives with such dynamics, writers work simultaneously with overt and covert trajectories of signification, establishing a range of relationships between them. The two parallel narrative movements may complement, contradict or even subvert each other, and these relationships significantly influence readers’ understanding not just of events but also of characters, themes, and aesthetic values. The book provides a systematic theoretical account of such previously neglected dual narrative dynamics, substantiated and enriched by the textual analysis of works by Ambrose Bierce, Kate Chopin, Franz Kafka, and Katherine Mansfield. The study explores the many ways that these authors have used dual dynamics to increase the power of their narratives. In addition, the book identifies the challenges such dual dynamics present not only for narratology but also for stylistics and translation studies, and it develops sound and provocative proposals for meeting those challenges.
In taking an interdisciplinary approach, this book will appeal to scholars and students in the fields of narrative and literary theory, literary criticism, literary stylistics, and translation studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part I Theory 1. Uniqueness of "Covert Progression" and its Different Relations with Plot Development 2. Why Covert Progressions Have Been Neglected and How to Uncover Them 3. How Dual Dynamics Can Transform and Extend Narratology 4. How Dual Dynamics Challenges Stylistics and How to Meet the Challenge 5. How Dual Dynamics Challenges Translation and How to Meet the Challenge Part II Practice 6. Naturalistic Covert Progression behind Complicated Plot Development: Chopin's "A Pair of Silk Stockings" 7. Dual Dynamics versus Single Dynamic: Bierce's "A Horseman in the Sky" and "The Affair at Coulter's Notch" 8. Societal Conflict Hidden Behind Personal Conflict: Kafka's "The Judgment" 9. Actually Unrequited behind Superficially Mutual Love: Mansfield's "Psychology” 10. One Focalization, Dual Progression, and Twofold Irony: Mansfield’s “A Dill Pickle” 11. Gender Reversal behind Miserable Life: Mansfield’s “Life of Ma Parker” in Contrast with Chekov’s “Misery” 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, and also a consultant editor of Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory. She has published seven books, including Style and Rhetoric of Short Narrative Fiction with Routledge.