Dissertation > Literature > Chinese Literature > The body of literature reviews and research > Novel > New Novel

The Narrative Characteristics of Epistolary Novel

Author DiaoLiJuan
Tutor WangZuoCheng
School Shandong University
Course Literature and Art
Keywords epistolary novel narrative communication narrative focalization narrative time
CLC I207.42
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Epistolary novel is a very special kind of literary genre with letters as its carrier, which is best known for its secrecy, dialogism in the literary area. Many outstanding epistolary novels have been writing since18th century. The unique form and literary style determine its special narrative traits as well. However, the study of it narrative traits is not paid as much attention.Literature for systematic research of narrative features of the epistolary novels in China is quite limited and most of the examples in it have been picked up from the western epistolary novels. Therefore, our local work has been significantly neglected when compared to the western one.Based on the basic theory of narratology, the main research goal of this thesis is to arouse more public attention to the research of narrative features of the epistolary novels through analysis of Chinese and Western epistolary novels in all ages, using the inductive and summary method to illustrate the narrative features of first-person narrative epistolary novels. The major novelties of this thesis include the innovative type induction of the narrators and narratees during the communication in epistolary novels based on the focalization theory of Genere Genet and Chatman’s narrative theory on the communication, and the characteristic two-way communication mode in epistolary novels based on utterance theory of Bakhtin.Meanwhile, a novel summary of the narrative time features of epistolary novels is represented according to the timing sequence and frequency in narratology.More importantly, the research in this thesis covers the modern and contemporary epistolary novels, which have been less involved in previous investigation, especially the Chinese modern and contemporary epistolary novels, in order to provide a more comprehensive summary of the narrative features of the epistolary novels.Using the above methodology, this thesis firstly summarizes various types of narrators including the internal focusing, external focusing and the non-focusing narrators, all of which have been reflected in epistolary novels. The corresponding narratee types including the soundless and interactive narratees have been contained in epistolary novels as well.In the meantime, the communication between narrators and narratees during the narrative process usually presents a two-way communication feature because of dialogical character of epistolary novels, which is significantly different from common novels.Secondly, this thesis presents a summary of three diverse forms:internal focusing, external focusing and the non-focusing form, via analysis and generalization of multiple epistolary novel works using focalization theory of Genere Genet. The internal focusing type is further divided into fixed and multiple internal focusing mode, where the thesis gives the illustration of the internal focusing type. Furthermore, the narrative time feature of the epistolary novels is discussed in the thesis from the perspective of timing sequence and frequency, which highlights the recount and the simultaneous record feature from timing sequence, and the multiple repetition feature from its frequency.These are the most prominent features in terms of narrative time of the epistolary novels.The purpose of this article is to give people a new understanding about narrative characteristic of epistolary novel by basing on characteristic features study.So as to enhancing the understanding of epistolary novel. At the same time, I hope that I could do something valuable in the future research of the epistolary novel through this article, and promote the further characteristic study of the epistolary novel.

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