Beckmann, Sebastian

Psychological Aspects of Unreliable Narration

A Literary Analysis and Didactic Application

Unreliable narration is a writing technique which has been critically studied in academia over the last 60 years and undoubtedly frequently used before this time. Detecting unreliable narration and thereby judging someone as reliable or not is not only relevant in the study of literature: First and foremost it is a social skill, and as such, a core competence of all social interaction and construction. The social skill of detecting unreliable narration needs to be honed and studying unreliable narration should not be confined to university classrooms and lecture halls, it is essential that it is expanded into our schools. This book illustrates that the study of literature has the potential to counteract the habit and current absurdity of limiting statements about reality to 280 characters, with no context and hardly any content. Drawing on current research from literary studies and psychology as well as medicine, this study explores new avenues of the application of psychological research to literary studies. Theoretical approaches on unreliable narration agree that unreliable narrators show a high degree of emotional involvement. The novels which compose this book's corpus showcase that this high degree of emotional involvement is omnipresent, directly connected to, and caused by the narrators' mental disorders, namely obsession, narcissism, and alcoholism. Apart from enriching the understanding of contemporary works by ZoŽ Heller, Caroline Kepnes, Bret Easton Ellis, Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and A.J. Finn, this study establishes novels which display unreliable narrators with mental deviations due to mental illnesses as literature with great didactic potential. Relating the findings of research in the field of psychology, the cognitive sciences, and literary studies to the question of the value of stories with narrators with mental deviations, this book demonstrates that literature has the potential to train especially young adult readers for life.

Contents (PDF)


ISBN 978-3-86821-880-0, kt., 248 S., Ä 34,50 (2020)

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