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Title: An I for an I: Reading Fictional Autobiography
Authors: Whitmarsh, Tim
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Tim Whitmarsh, “An I for an I: Reading Fictional Autobiography”, in: CentoPagine III (2009), pp. 56-66
Abstract: The distinction between author and narrator is central to narratology, and to modern literary criticism in general. Why is it that ancient critics seem so often to ignore it, and to confuse the narrator's words with authorial autobiography? This chapter argues that antiquity had a different way of understanding first person narration, which was conceived of more in terms of illusionistic role playing: the author is imagined as playing the part of a character in a fiction. As with other varieties of illusionism in ancient thought, fictional autobiography has a double aspect: the author both is and, at once, is not the character in question. The chapter concludes by claiming that the fictional 'I' is metaleptic, in Gerard Genette's sense: it creates a space in which the author shuttles between an internal and an external perspective on narrative action.
ISSN: 19740395
Appears in Collections:CentoPagine 2009

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