Language and its relation to culture has been a topic of research in German Volkskunde [folklore studies] from the beginning of the discipline. While dialectological studies, linguistic specificities of local cultures and language in everyday life have been integral parts of Volkskunde for much of the first part of the twentieth century, the discipline saw a shift away from its philological elements towards a social science orientation in post-Second World War developments. During the last decades, the analysis of linguistic dimensions of everyday culture has been on the margin of scholarly activities in Volkskunde. Starting with a historic perspective on the role of language in the beginnings of the discipline, this article discusses the development and decrease of the study of linguistic aspects. It analyses the role of language in contemporary German Volkskunde both in theory and methodology, and offers perspectives on how the discipline could benefit from a renewed focus on linguistic dimensions of everyday culture.
This article provides the base for a narratology that is specific to comics. It takes into account the irrefutable presence of an agent responsible for graphic enunciation, the monstrator, and on the basis of a case study (Franquin, Jidéhem and Greg's album, The Shadow of Z) it deducts that the instance of the recitant is responsible for verbal enunciation. The necessity to distinguish these two instances from that of the fundamental narrator is collaborated by the different positions that can be adapted with respect to storytelling.
Unnatural narratology has recently focused our attention on unnatural representations of time. It is usually assumed that the ‘typical sjuzhet’ must be linear, while the ‘variable sjuzhet’ is unnatural and belongs exclusively to experimental works. Instances of time travel are also considered unnatural story elements that have been conventionalised by popular culture. In this article, these supposedly unnatural ingredients of narratives will be examined in the context of the semiotic potential and cultural tradition of European comics. I shall argue that a variable sjuzhet should be considered a natural quality of the medium because of its tabularity and its nonlinear organisation, and that most time travel that we find in comics is a mere extension of the motif of the ‘extraordinary journey’ and does not engender time paradoxes. Thus, it appears that, in the comics tradition, the graphic potential of time travel has predominated over scriptwriting complexities, highlighting the specificity of the ‘graphic imagination’.
David Miranda-Barreiro, Michelle Herte, Joe Sutliff Sanders and Mark McKinney
Santiago García (trans. Bruce Campbell), On the Graphic Novel (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2015). 375 pp. ISBN: 978-1-49681-318-3 ($30)
Jan-Noël Thon, Transmedial Narratology and Contemporary Media Culture, Frontiers of Narrative (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016). 527 pp. ISBN: 978-0-80-327720-5 (€50.99)
Thierry Bellefroid, ed., L’Âge d’Or de la bande dessinée belge: La Collection du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Liège (Brussels: Les Impressions Nouvelles, 2015). 96 pp. ISBN: 978-2-87-449232-7 (€19.50)
Philippe Delisle, Petite histoire politique de la BD belge de langue française: Années 1920–1960 (Paris: Karthala, 2016). 199 pp. ISBN: 978-2-81- 111717-7 (€15)
Rewriting Lesbian Stereotypes in Summer Will Show
Intertextuality is basic to Sylvia Townsend Warner’s narratives: she is a formidably learned, effortlessly allusive writer. From her slyly absurd references to Wordsworth in the lush tropical setting of Mr. Fortune’s Maggot (1927) through her retelling of Apuleius’s Cupid and Psyche to produce an allegory of class oppression in her first historical novel, The True Heart (1929), to the densely woven intertextuality of Summer Will Show (1936), she uses allusion both to ground her apparently implausible narratives within literary history and to question and parody the politics, ‘history’, and narratology of her predecessors. It is appropriate that in this novel, where the lesbian romance in Paris is precisely coterminous with the 1848 revolution, many of the allusions are to nineteenth-century French literary history. Warner’s ‘unwriting’ of Flaubert’s L’Éducation Sentimentale has received a great deal of attention since it was first noted by Terry Castle in her 1990 theorisation of the lesbian triangular plot. Later writers, in contrast, have emphasised the allusion’s Marxist significance. Quite another fictional genealogy seems more to the point, however, when we consider Warner’s characterisation of Minna Lemuel, the revolutionary Jewish story-teller: the representation, usually by women writers, of the powerful, sexually active, sometimes evil and sometimes doomed femme artiste, as in Madame de Stael’s Corinne, Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, George Sand’s Consuelo, and Colette’s La Seconde. It is now abundantly clear that the intertextuality of Summer Will Show demonstrates that the novel is narratologically, politically, and sexually revolutionary.
Narratology is the study of the ways in which narrative organises perception and experience. Narratologists understand narrative as a ‘meta-code, a human universal’ (White 1987), which is instrumental in enabling the re-organisation of time, space, character and event in the construction of meaning in texts. Narratologists draw on different epistemological traditions, and develop different approaches and practices. These approaches can be roughly categorised as belonging to textual, inter-textual, and extra-textual traditions. The textual approach is exemplified by the work of Vladimir Propp (1928/1968), Claude Levi-Strauss (1958/1963), Roland Barthes (1966/1977), Algirdas Greimas (1966/1983), Paul Ricoeur (1985), and Tzvetan Todorov (1990). Narratologists in this structuralist tradition categorize and taxonomize narrative form. Propp identified 31 ‘narratemes’ (the smallest narrative units, equivalent to morphemes at the sentence level), which occur in all narratives in unvarying sequence; Greimas developed a typology of narrative ‘actants’; and Ricoeur investigated connections between time and narrative to typify ‘configurational activities’ in narrative plots and sequences. These, and other, textual approaches to narrative, show how texts selectively draw on narrative resources (emplotment, ways of representing character, hermeneutic and proairetic codes) in the construction of narrative meaning.