Intuition, Evidence, and Carroll's Theory of Narrative

in Projections
Author: Jonathan Frome1
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  • 1 Lingnan University jonathan.frome@gmail.com
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Abstract

Over the last thirty years, Noël Carroll has elaborated his theory of erotetic narration, which holds that most films have a narrative structure in which early scenes raise questions and later scenes answer them. Carroll's prolific publishing about this theory and his expansion of the theory to issues such as audience engagement, narrative closure, and film genre have bolstered its profile, but, despite its high visibility in the field, virtually no other scholars have either criticized or built upon the theory. This article uses Carroll's own criteria for evaluating film theories—evidentiary support, falsifiability, and explanatory power—to argue that erotetic theory's strange position in the field is due to its intuitive examples and equivocal descriptions, which make the theory appear highly plausible even though it is ultimately indefensible.

Contributor Notes

Jonathan Frome is an Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. He has published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Games and Culture, and the Quarterly Review of Film and Video. His research interests include video game studies, film theory, aesthetics, documentary, and emotion. Email: jonathan.frome@gmail.com

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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