Computing Action: A Narratological Approach (Narratologia - by Jan Christoph Meister, Alastair Matthews

By Jan Christoph Meister, Alastair Matthews

Computing motion takes a brand new method of the phenomenon of narrated motion in literary texts. It starts off with a survey of philosophical methods to the concept that of motion, starting from analytical to transcendental and at last constructivist definitions. This ends up in the formula of a brand new version of motion, within which the center definitions constructed in conventional structuralist narratology and Greimassian semiotics are reconceptualised within the gentle of constructivist theories. within the moment a part of the examine, the combinatory version of motion proposed is placed into perform within the context of a computer-aided research of the motion constructs logically implied through narrative texts. specialized literary computing instruments have been constructed for the needs of this research of textual facts: EVENTPARSER, an interactive software for parsing occasions in literary texts, and EPITEST, a device for subjecting the mark-up documents therefore produced to a combinatory research of the episode and motion constructs they include. The 3rd a part of the e-book provides a case learn of Goethe's Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten. right here, the sensible software of idea and method finally ends up in a brand new interpretation of Goethe's well-known Novellenzyklus as a scientific test within the narrative development of motion - an scan meant to illustrate not just Goethe's aesthetic ideas, but in addition, and extra essentially, his epistemological convictions.

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Extra resources for Computing Action: A Narratological Approach (Narratologia - Volume 2)

Sample text

29 Thus, The king died obviously implies that the king must have been alive beforehand. On the other hand, the completion of the ellipsis (with, for example, The king was alive) is hardly sufficient on its own to turn the individual event into a sequence of events that could be rendered in the form of a narrative. The equivalence relation that Genette draws between sentence and narrative conflicts with the general categorization of different definitions of narrative which he makes at the outset of his study: first, narrative in the sense of ‘the signifier, statement, discourse or narrative text itself’; second, narrative in the sense of the ‘signified or narrative content,’ for which Genette proposes reserving the term ‘story’; third, the ‘producing narrative action’ which he terms ‘narrating’ (Genette 1980:27).

The conditions in question are found only when the contextual knowledge of reader and narrator is completely equivalent. In practice, such complete equivalence is the exception rather than the rule. The more typical incongruity generates variance between the narrator’s construction of action and the recipient’s reconstruction of action. The first type of contextual knowledge involved, empirical world knowledge, is indispensable and always active. In the present example, it includes knowledge of such things as the fact that entities like kings and queens are animate and can therefore be born and die.

What at first sight appears to be a fully text-based reconstruction of a single action turns out to be dependent upon our access to two sets of context factors. Only under certain conditions will a reader be able to reverse the transformational process described in Schmid’s fourlevel model and reconstruct a pre-existent complex event (‘Geschehen’) on the basis of its final manifestation in the textual narrative. The conditions in question are found only when the contextual knowledge of reader and narrator is completely equivalent.

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