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De(ar)ranged minds, mindless acts and polemical portrayal in Kleist and Canetti

Gunther Martens UGent (2009) STYLE. 43(3). p.388-406
abstract
In my paper, I aim to deal with the representation of normality and insanity in third-person narration from the point of view of rhetorical narratology. As a point of departure, I will briefly sketch the quarrel between narratology (Dorrit Cohn) and New Historicism (John Bender). From this debate, the interesting challenge can be derived to arrive at a more performative and historically sensitive notion of madness as filtered through narrative form. While recent tendencies have highlighted the experiential and mental implications of the narrative representation of deranged minds, I aim to bring into play a more external and historical dimension of the attribution of normality. In my view, this can be facilitated by means of a rhetorical approach highlighting the stylistic expressivity of a narrator's indirectness. In order to illustrate this approach, I will discuss the role of polemical portrayal in Heinrich von Kleist's essay On the gradual completion of thoughts (1800) and in Elias Canetti's novel Die Blendung (1935, Engl. Auto-da-fe, 1946, with a brief glance to its remediation as a radio play in 2002). Kleist's and Canetti's narrators remain reticent on the condition of their protagonists' mental well-being. The latter can be said to be mindless in the sense that their minds, rather than accessed, are circumscribed and linked to (corporeal) externalities through narratorial indirection. The broader ambition is to present a feasible framework to make compatible the rhetorical-narratological interest in formal and stylistic characteristics with the study of the interaction of various discourses, media and contexts.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
journal title
STYLE
Style
editor
Lars Bernaerts UGent, Luc Herman and Bart Vervaeck UGent
volume
43
issue
3
issue title
Madness in fiction
pages
388 - 406
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000208330100008
ISSN
0039-4238
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
VABB id
c:vabb:279528
VABB type
VABB-1
id
530300
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-530300
date created
2009-03-25 13:27:51
date last changed
2013-04-22 15:00:59
@article{530300,
  abstract     = {In my paper, I aim to deal with the representation of normality and insanity in third-person narration from the point of view of rhetorical narratology. As a point of departure, I will briefly sketch the quarrel between narratology (Dorrit Cohn) and New Historicism (John Bender). From this debate, the interesting challenge can be derived to arrive at a more performative and historically sensitive notion of madness as filtered through narrative form. While recent tendencies have highlighted the experiential and mental implications of the narrative representation of deranged minds, I aim to bring into play a more external and historical dimension of the attribution of normality. In my view, this can be facilitated by means of a rhetorical approach highlighting the stylistic expressivity of a narrator's indirectness. In order to illustrate this approach, I will discuss the role of polemical portrayal in Heinrich von Kleist's essay On the gradual completion of thoughts (1800) and in Elias Canetti's novel Die Blendung (1935, Engl. Auto-da-fe, 1946, with a brief glance to its remediation as a radio play in 2002). Kleist's and Canetti's narrators remain reticent on the condition of their protagonists' mental well-being. The latter can be said to be mindless in the sense that their minds, rather than accessed, are circumscribed and linked to (corporeal) externalities through narratorial indirection. The broader ambition is to present a feasible framework to make compatible the rhetorical-narratological interest in formal and stylistic characteristics with the study of the interaction of various discourses, media and contexts.},
  author       = {Martens, Gunther},
  editor       = {Bernaerts, Lars and Herman, Luc and Vervaeck, Bart},
  issn         = {0039-4238},
  journal      = {STYLE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {388--406},
  title        = {De(ar)ranged minds, mindless acts and polemical portrayal in Kleist and Canetti},
  volume       = {43},
  year         = {2009},
}

Chicago
Martens, Gunther. 2009. “De(ar)ranged Minds, Mindless Acts and Polemical Portrayal in Kleist and Canetti.” Ed. Lars Bernaerts, Luc Herman, and Bart Vervaeck. Style 43 (3): 388–406.
APA
Martens, Gunther. (2009). De(ar)ranged minds, mindless acts and polemical portrayal in Kleist and Canetti. (L. Bernaerts, L. Herman, & B. Vervaeck, Eds.)STYLE, 43(3), 388–406.
Vancouver
1.
Martens G. De(ar)ranged minds, mindless acts and polemical portrayal in Kleist and Canetti. Bernaerts L, Herman L, Vervaeck B, editors. STYLE. 2009;43(3):388–406.
MLA
Martens, Gunther. “De(ar)ranged Minds, Mindless Acts and Polemical Portrayal in Kleist and Canetti.” Ed. Lars Bernaerts, Luc Herman, & Bart Vervaeck. STYLE 43.3 (2009): 388–406. Print.