Disnarration, unnarration and circumnarration: a neonarrative study of Jane Austen's Novels
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 14:01 authored by Sha Fan
This project maintains that Jane Austen demonstrates modern spirit through those seemingly traditional works because her way of writing challenges the conventional concept of narration and incorporates fresh techniques that can be termed neonarrative strategy. As a developing branch of postclassical narratology first proposed by Gerald Prince and then expanded by Robyn Warhol and Brian Richardson, neonarrative theory includes such enlightening concepts as disnarration (narrative that refers to events that do not happen), unnarration (narrative that omits certain information out of narrative incapability or narrative choice) and circumnarration (narrative that indirectly narrates what happens). Austen's narrative practice of imagination, misconception and deception comprise the narrative domain of disnarration. Her characters are always defined and redefined by how they are positioned in relation to narration and disnarration, and at the same time the truth is constructed from a gradual development of false or hypothetical narrative. It is fair to say that her novels are narratives about the dangers of narratives, since truth is never what is appears to be and narrative can be illusory, misleading and deceptive. Austen's application of unnarratable silence or narrative refusal breaks from the tradition that only focuses on what is narrated. No matter if it is narrative incapability or narrative choice, the strategy of unnarration leads her to the narrative domain of possibility and infinity, and a consistent articulation of the relationship between what is narrated/voice and what is not narrated/silence strengthens the collaboration between the narrator/author and her narratee/reader. Austen manages the issues of passion and sexuality through circumnarration. She assimilates the erotic implications into the public activities of courtship and flirtation or the social issues of elopement and adultery, which highlights the passionate interactions between men and iii women without violating social conventions and destroys the fallacy that her novels are unpolluted in terms of corporeal reality. It is fair to say that Austen's narrative world is constructed in narration, and deconstructed and reconstructed in disnarration, unnarration, and circumnarration. The significance of what is revealed by looking at her novels through the neonarrative lens consists in her modern spirit of fluidity, possibility and infinity, which will be a new addition to the Austen study in the days of booming Janeite culture.