The Boundaries of Narrative: The Problems, Possibilities, and Politics of Accommodating the Lyric Mode in Narrative Fiction

2003-06-23
Lyric and narrative are two distinct literary modes that are often hard to reconcile. They were, however, brought together especially in the kind of fiction that was widely produced in the early 20th century by writers like Virginia Woolf, who were highly interested in recording the elaborate thought processes and feelings of characters in an almost ‘poetic’ style. Works produced in this fashion are called ‘lyrical novels’ or ‘lyrical short stories’, suggesting that in such cases the boundaries of narrative fiction are extended to include and accommodate the lyric mode. This kind of labelling, however, is not without its problems. It is often possible to come across works of fiction whose lyrical aspects are so dominant that it is no longer possible to reconcile them with the basic defining characteristics of narrative. Such works may be said to challenge the boundaries of narrative fiction by appearing to be primarily narrative in mode but refusing at the same time to be categorised and subsumed under the title ‘narrative’. This paper focuses on those boundary cases in which the lyric mode refuses to be dominated by and subsumed under the narrative mode. Taking as an example Virginia Woolf’s short story, ‘The Mark on the Wall’, the paper looks into how far the boundaries of narrative can be extended to accommodate the lyric mode. In addition to demarcating the boundaries of narrative fiction, such an analysis, it is hoped, will shed light on the politics of resisting narrative as the only dominant mode in a work of fiction.
Citation Formats
N. Korkut Naykı, “The Boundaries of Narrative: The Problems, Possibilities, and Politics of Accommodating the Lyric Mode in Narrative Fiction,” İstanbul, Türkiye, 2003, p. 165, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/75920.