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Michael Haneke, Das weiße Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte [on ... Frances Lee, Overturning Dr. Faustus: Rereading Thomas Mann's Novel in Light of.
Unreliable Narrators in Post-War Prose (VIII, X)

Dr Alex Lloyd, St Edmund Hall | Magdalen College [email protected] |

Week 3: Identifying the Unreliable Narrator (Mann)

History of the Unreliable Narrator in German Literature

▪ Summary of Week 1: ▪ The narrator – who can speak in a variety of voices and embody infinite viewpoints – is not to be conflated with the author. ▪ Theories of unreliable narration conventionally take a rhetorical or cognitivist approach. ▪ Since Booth’s coinage, many scholars have attempted to refine or supplant his definition. ▪ Examples show how the unreliable narrator can be identified through textual markers, paratext, and reader response. ▪ A narrator’s unreliability may stem from a number of sources: s/he distorts the ‘truth’ (deliberately or because of a limited viewpoint); is biased; has problematic beliefs/opinions/values.

▪ 17the century - Grimmelshausen, Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch (1668/69)

▪ 18th century - Goethe, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (1774) ▪ 19th century - Theodor Storm, Der Schimmelreiter (1888) - Michael Haneke, Das weiße Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte [on DVD]

How to Spot an Unreliable Narrator Using Works by Thomas Mann

▪ Theory - Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan (2007, pp. 101, 87-106) 1. contradiction between the narrator’s views and the facts 2. gaps between events in the text and narrator’s previous comments 3. disjuncture between other characters’ views and those of the narrator 4. inconsistencies and contradictions in the narrator’s discourse - Per Hansen (2007, pp. 227-46) 1. intranarrational 2. internarrational 3. intertextual 4. extratextual - Ansgar Nünning (2008, pp. 44-46, 29-77) 1. Intratextual 2. Extratextual 3. Reader’s knowledge/understanding

▪ Der Tod in Venedig (1912) - Dorrit Cohn (2000, pp. 132-50): Can a third-person extradiegetic narrator be termed unreliable? - Ellis Shookman (2004, p.129): positive result of two negatives?

▪ Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull: Der Memoiren erster Teil (1954) - Bernhard Malkmus (2011, p. 102): Krull as arbitrary - Ernest Schonfield (2008, p. 168): collusion between the reader and the narrator - Gunther Martens (2008, pp. 94-95): addressing the reader

▪ Ausblick: Doktor Faustus: Das Leben des deutschen Tonsetzers Adrian Leverkühn, erzählt von einem Freunde (1947) - Frances Lee (2007, pp. 94-95): Did Mann take his eye off the ball?


▪ Ansgar Nünning (1999, p. 54): ‘unreliable, compared to what?’

Works Cited/Suggested Reading

Dorrit Cohn, The Distinction of Fiction (Baltimore, MA: John Hopkins University Press, 2000) Per Krogh Hansen, ‘Reconsidering the Unreliable Narrator’, Semiotica, 165 (2007), 227-46 Frances Lee, Overturning Dr. Faustus: Rereading Thomas Mann’s Novel in Light of ‘Observations of a Non-Political Man’ (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2007)

Bernhard Malkmus, The German Picaro and Modernity: Between Underdog and Shape-Shifter

(London: Continuum, 2011)

Gunther Martens, ‘Revising and Extending the Scope of the Rhetorical Approach to Unreliable Narration’, in Narrative Unreliability in the Twentieth-Century First- Person Novel, ed. by Elke D'hoker, Gunther Martens (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008), pp. 77-107 Ansgar Nünning, ‘Unreliable, Compared to What? Towards a Cognitive Theory of Unreliable Narration: Prolegomena and Hypotheses’, in Grenzüberschreitungen: Narratologie im Kontext / Transcending Boundaries: Narratology in Context, ed. by Walter Grünzweig and Andreas Solbach (Tübingen: Narr, 1999), pp. 53–73 ---., ‘Reconceptualizing the Theory, History and Generic Scope of Unreliable Narration: Towards a Synthesis of Cognitive and Rhetorical Approaches’, in Narrative Unreliability in the Twentieth-Century First-Person Novel Ed. by Elke D'hoker and Gunther Martens, (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008), pp. 29-77 William Riggan, Picaros, Madmen, Naifs, and Clowns: The Unreliable First- Person Narrator (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981) Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, ‘Narration: Levels and Voices’, in Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 87-106 Ernest Schonfield, Art and Its Uses in Thomas Mann’s ‘Felix Krull’ (London: Maney/MHRA, 2008) Ellis Shookman, Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice: A Reference Guide (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2004) Jacqueline Viswanathan, ‘Point of View and Unreliability in Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Conrad’s Under Western Eyes and Mann’s Doktor Faustus’, Orbis Litterarum (1974), XXIX, 42-60 Kathleen Wall, ‘”The Remains of the Day” and Its Challenges to Theories of Unreliable Narration’, The Journal of Narrative Technique, 24.1 (1994), 18-42 ----------------------- © D. Lloyd