Narrative and Narratology

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSOL2CL1074

Course Coordinator and Team: Sandeep R. Singh

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: The field of narratology refers to the study of the narrative. The objective of the study is to analyse and comprehend themes, motifs and stylistics of the narrative and compose a set of common factors that constitute a narrative. In studying the structure of a narrative, narratology scrutinises the modes and means through which the narrative affects and influences our engagement with text, context, history and culture. The course will also attempt to establish a link between life and narrative. The importance of the narrative and its relevance to perception has magnified with the explosion of narrative modes like television and film. The objectives of the course are:

  • To offer a basic introduction to narratology, including forms of narrative in fiction and non-fiction.
  • To examine the discursive agenda of varied narrative structures.
  • To examine the ways in which narratives are framed and what constitutes the act of narration and how these are interpreted within varied socio-politico and cultural frameworks.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1. Introducing Narrative and Narratology: This introductory module will present to the students both classical and contemporary theories that look at the concept of narrative and raise questions on narratology.

Module 2. Narrative Strategies: Making of the Text: In this module an attempt will be made to study technical aspects like narrator, plot, focalisation, perspective, points of view and time.

Module 3. Types of Narratology: Modes of Reading: This module will look at the interplay between text and reader and how narratives work toward establishing modes of reading.

Module 4. Working with Narratives: In this module students are expected to work with narrative theory and analyse and any literary text or film or a television series of their choice.

Assessment Details with weights:

Continuous evaluation based on:

  • Class participation (this may include quiz/test/presentation) 20%
  • Mid-term assignment: 40%
  • Term paper (including submission of abstract and approval of first draft) 40% [This will be a research paper.]

Reading List (indicative only):

Module 1. Introducing Narratives and Narratology

  • Ricouer, Paul. Time and Narrative, Vol. I. Trans. McLaughlin, Kathleen and David Pellauer. University of Chicago Press, 1983, pp.5-51
  • Barthes, Roland. “An Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative.” New Literary History 6.2 (1975): 237-72. JSTOR. Web. 23 June 2013.
  • Paniker, K. Ayyappa. “The Theory and Practice of Narrative in India” in Indian Narratology . New Delhi: IGNCA with Sterling Publishers, 2003, pp.1-17
  • Das, Sisir Kumar. “Epilogue” in A History of Indian Literature, 1911-1956: Struggle for Freedom: Triumph and Tragedy, New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1995 (2015 ed), pp. 396-419.
  • Fludernik, Monika. “Histories of Narrative Theory (II): From Structuralism to the Present” in A Companion to Narrative Theory, eds. James Phelan and Peter J. Rabinowitz. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2005, pp. 36-59.

Module 2. Narrative Strategies: Making of the Text

  • Fludernik, Monica. “The structure of narrative” in An Introduction to Narratology. Trans. Patricia Hausler-Greenfield and Monika Fludernik. New York and London: Routledge, 2009, pp. 21-39.
  • Excerpts from Euripides’ Medea. Trans. Philip Vellacott. New Delhi: Penguin, 2002.
  • Excerpts from Kalidasa’s Kumarasambhava. Trans. M.R. Kale, New Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass, 2011.
  • Excerpts from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1880). Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, London: Vintage, 2004.
  • Tagore, Rabindranath. “The Exercise Book” (“Khata” 1894) in Individual and Society: Essays, Stories and Poems, eds, Sood, Vinay et al. New Delhi: Pearson, 2006, pp. 76-85.

Module 3. Types of Narratology: Modes of Reading

  • Iser, Wolfgang. “The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach.” In Modern Criticism and Theory, eds. David Lodge and Nigel Wood. New Delhi: Pearson, 2007, pp. 207-223.
  • Hansberry, Lorraine. Raisin in the Sun (1959). New York: Vintage, 2004.
  • Limbale, Sharankumar. The Outcaste (Akkarmashi). New Delhi: Oxford, 2007.
  • Rich, Adrienne “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” and “Diving into the Wreck”; Sylvia Plath “Lady Lazarus” and selections from The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962, ed. Karen V. Kukil. New York: Anchor, 2000.
  • Excerpts from Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness (1899). New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Excerpts from Kanga, Firdaus. Trying to Grow. Bloomsbury, 1990.

Module 4. Working with Narratives

Selections from:

  • Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhailovich. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Holquist. Ed. Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981
  • Genette, Gérard. Narrative Discourse. Trans. Jane E. Lewin. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980.
  • Lanser, Susan. “Toward a Feminist Narratology.” English Department, University of Georgia. 674-693. Web. 4 May 2013
  • Propp, Vladimir. Morphology of the Folktale. Trans. Laurence Scott. University of Texas Press, 2009.
  • White, Hayden. The Fiction of Narrative: Essays on History, Literature, and Theory, 1957-2007. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 2010.