Jump to navigation Jump to search Paratext is a concept in literary interpretation. The main text of published authors e. These added elements form a frame for the main text, and can change the reception of a text or its interpretation by the public. Paratext is most often associated with books , as they typically include a cover with associated cover art , title, front matter dedication, opening information, foreword , back matter endpapers, colophon footnotes, and many other materials not crafted by the author. Other editorial decisions can also fall into the category of paratext, such as the formatting or typography. Because of their close association with the text, it may seem that authors should be given the final say about paratextual materials, but often that is not the case.
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Work[ edit ] Genette is largely responsible for the reintroduction of a rhetorical vocabulary into literary criticism, for example such terms as trope and metonymy. Additionally his work on narrative, best known in English through the selection Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method , has been of importance. Thresholds of Interpretation Terms and techniques originating in his vocabulary and systems have, however, become widespread, such as the term paratext for prefaces, introductions, illustrations or other material accompanying the text, or hypotext for the sources of the text.
If narratology could cope with Proust, this could no longer be said. They are primarily used to look at the syntax of narratives, rather than to perform an interpretation of them. Order[ edit ] Say a story is narrated as follows: the clues of a murder are discovered by a detective event A ; the circumstances of the murder are finally revealed event B ; and lastly the murderer is caught event C.
Add corresponding numbers to the lettered events that represent their order chronologically: 1, 2, and 3. If these events were described chronologically, they would run B1, A2, C3.
Arranged in the text, however, they run A2 discovery , B1 flashback , C3 resolution. It also deals with the structure of narratives on a more systematic basis, accounting for flash-forward, simultaneity, as well as possible, if rarely used, effects. The separation between an event and its narration allows several possibilities. An event can occur once and be narrated once singular. An event can occur n times and be narrated n times multiple.
Duration[ edit ] The separation between an event and its narration means that there is discourse time and narrative time.
These are the two main elements of duration. Not many people, however, could read Ulysses in twenty-four hours. Thus it is safe to say it has a lengthy discourse time. Voice is concerned with who narrates, and from where. This can be split four ways. Where the narration is from Intra-diegetic: inside the text. Hetero-diegetic: the narrator is not a character in the story. It is related to voice. Distance of the narrator changes with narrated speech, transposed speech and reported speech.
Perspective of the narrator is called focalization. Narratives can be non-focalized, internally focalized or externally focalized.
The use of the concept in other disciplines than literary studies and for other media than printed books is discussed. In doing so, Genette points out the importance of paratextual elements in transforming the text into a book, and the fact that a text is not necessarily the same thing as a book, even if texts often appear in book format. A paratext thus is a text that relates or mediates to another text the main work in a way that enables the work to be complete and to be offered to its readers and, more generally, to the public. History In Seuils Genette gives a complete study of the notion for the first time . Seuils has been translated into German and English , and the concept has since been applied by scholars in other disciplines than literary studies and for other media than printed books.