Thursday, December 2, 2010

Monika Fludernik: Towards a Natural Narratology- summary

In her formidable work "Towards a 'Natural' Narratology" Monika Fludernik attempts at reconceptualizing the basic premise of narratology in the aftermath of post-structural thought, which is intuitively hostile and suspicious of the term 'natural' that Monika Fludernik seeks to set in the forefront of her theory. But as Fludernik stresses, 'natural' is assigned by her not to texts or textual techniques, but to cognitive frames, namely equating the elusive quality "narrativity" with "experientiality", a "quasi-mimetic evocation of 'real life experience'. So, Fludernik's "differentia specifica" for narrativity and narrative is the embodied anthropomorphic experiencer.
Following Labov, Monika Fludernik relates to 'natural narrative' as spontaneously occurring storytelling. She therefore relates to such types of oral narrative as preceding more complex forms of narrative such as literature. Fludernik's reason for doing so is her hypothesis that there exists a cognitive schema which correlates to formal aspects of narrative, with their essence found in the most basic prototype form of natural narrative.  This is not to say the Fludernik rejects poststructuralism, for all narrative in her eyes is constructed, but she does claim that there are universally valid cognitive components that instill a discourse with the quality of narrativity.   

Narrativity is defined by Monika Fludernik as "a function of narrative texts and centers on experientiality of an anthropomorphic nature". This definition, for example, refutes and contradicts in a way with Hyden White's line of thought, making history a lesser form of narrative for its lack of experientiality. 
Narrativity for Fludernik is never something inherent in the text, but rather something attributed to it by the reader which constructs the text as a narrative. Therefore it is dependant solely on the reader and his interpretation.

One of Fludernik's .. which classify her as a post-classic narratologist, is her negation of fictionality in the definition of a narrative. Referentiality is not the issue, it is all about the way we experience and respond to a certain form of information. 

Monika Fludernik's writing in "Towards a Natural Narrative" is elaborate and complex. Here you will find a series of articles attempting to shed light on some of the concepts employed by Flundernik and reviews on some of the main themes of her oftentimes elusive thought. 

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