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Chapter 5 - Hermeneutics of Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 November 2021

Eve Tavor Bannet
Affiliation:
University of Oklahoma
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Summary

Nineteenth-century novels such as Redgauntlet (1824), Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824), No Name (1863), or The Moonstone (1868) eliminated any permanent omniscient narrator and gave the perspectives of different characters, or of the same characters at different times, different generic forms – including letter-narratives, narrative-epistolary writing, and letter-narratives containing narrative-epistolary narration – to tell the story entirely through the perspectives afforded by a discontinuous patchwork of genres. Telling a story through characters’ partial and conflicting perspectives was not new – it had been done by eighteenth-century epistolary novels, and other nineteenth-century novels fragmented their story into personal narratives that recounted the story from different narrative perspectives (for instance, Wuthering Heights) or used genre-switching to mark different phases or views of the same story (for instance, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Lady Audley’s Secret) without, for all that, eliminating the connecting and guiding narratorial voice. Superimposing generic and personal perspectival boundaries in the absence of an omniscient narrator was different.

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Chapter
Information
The Letters in the Story
Narrative-Epistolary Fiction from Aphra Behn to the Victorians
, pp. 220 - 245
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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