CAT - Cultures in America in Transition (Hg. von Ansgar Nünning, Vera Nünning, Norbert Finzsch)
Vol. 2

Stefanie Schäfer

'Just the Two of Us'

Self-Narration and Recognition in the Contemporary American Novel

Who am I and how can I tell my story to an Other? ’Just the Two of Us’ examines self-narration by looking at the scenario of address in literature and theory of the US after postmodernism. It asks how a narrative identity is ‘made’ in the telling and develops an analytical toolkit of self-narration which is applied to five contemporary American novels: Geraldine Brooks’ March, Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep, Benjamin Kunkel’s Indecision, Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics, and Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex. 

The present theory of self-narration is compiled from tenets from autobiography theory, narrative psychology, reader response criticism, and Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of the self. It also considers recent discourses of subjectivity - narrative performativity and the ethical turn - to assess how each fictional narrator builds his or her own story into a scaffolding of culturally available plots, generic frameworks, and forms of reader address. In self-narration, this book argues, we not only have to address the reasons for telling one’s story, but also how it is told and to whom. Narrator and audience are both engaged in calling to life the narrative self: The self-narrating I is brought forth by ‘just the two of us.’

ISBN 978-3-86821-283-9, 230 S., kt., € 26,50 (2011)

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