While on a conscious level, readers of fiction take for granted that quoted text represents words spoken by characters to other characters in a diegetic story-world, Mikhail Bakhtin’s theories on polyphony and Franz Stanzel’s (and, more recently, Wolf Schmid’s) ideas on stylistic “contamination” of narrators’ speech by characters’ speech have long nuanced our understanding of quoted speech as always being read as purely diegetic. The article suggests how a reader’s stance toward a narrator’s voice can be mirrored by a similarly dialogically positioned pair of diegetic characters, with implications for the reader’s empathy. It examines how “resonance” between paired voices on separate narrative levels occurs when repetition of a deictic across juxtaposed passages or narration and dialogue leads readers to sense a rhetorical continuity despite the grammatical discontinuity.
Resonance: Reading “Homoglossia” across Narration and Dialogue
Joshua Parker is an associate professor of American studies at the University of Salzburg, with interests in place and space in American literature, transatlantic relations and narrative theory. His publications include Austria and America: Cross-Cultural Encounters 1865–1933 (2014), Austria and America: 20th-Century Cross-Cultural Encounters (2017) and Tales of Berlin in American Literature up to the 21st Century (2016). His work with narrative theory has focused on the long development of second-person passages in fiction, from the eighteenth to twenty-first century, in French and in English, with a focus on contemporary American literature.
Joshua Parker; Resonance: Reading “Homoglossia” across Narration and Dialogue. Poetics Today 1 December 2018; 39 (4): 679–701. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-7150938
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