Building a World from the Day's Remains: Showing, Telling, Re-presenting

Scott, Jeremy (2018) Building a World from the Day's Remains: Showing, Telling, Re-presenting. In: Sorlin, Sandrine, ed. Manipulating the Reader in Fiction. Bloomsbury, London, UK (In press) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

In the meta-discourses of creative writing, the terms ‘showing’ and ‘telling’ are often used to distinguish between different kinds of narrative effect. The distinction can be taken literally: in the former, the narrative creates the impression that the reader is being ‘shown’ the events that unfold, as if present in or witnessing the storyworld. In the latter, the reader will feel that they are being told about the events once removed. However, it is difficult to define, distinguish between and analyse the two terms in a principled manner. This is especially true in the case of first-person (homodiegetic) narration which takes place simultaneously with the events being mediated. In such narrative situations, the effects are blended more overtly, and foregrounded, because a homodiegetic narrator must both ‘show’ and ‘tell’ at the same time. This chapter will augment and extend a model outlined in Scott (2013) by arguing that the classical terms mimesis and diegesis together with taxonomies drawn from stylistic descriptions of discourse presentation (Short 2007) and Text World Theory (Werth 1999, Gavins 2007) can provide a robust means of exploring the difference between the two techniques of representation and their differing effects on the reader’s processes of world-building. Examples are drawn from Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day (1989) to illustrate the distinction, and it will be argued that more nuanced understanding of the processes involved at a stylistic and cognitive poetic level will be of benefit to both creative practitioners and critics.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: narratology, discourse presentation, Text World Theory, creative writing, mimesis and diegesis, Kazuo Ishiguro
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > English Language and Linguistics
Depositing User: Jeremy Scott
Date Deposited: 01 May 2018 10:55 UTC
Last Modified: 18 May 2018 12:50 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/66881 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Scott, Jeremy: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6572-7719
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