14 Das Problem der Narrativität in Literatur, bildender Kunst und Musik: Ein Beitrag zu einer intermedialen Erzähltheorie [2002]

in Selected Essays on Intermediality by Werner Wolf (1992–2014)
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[This essay is one of the earliest systematic attempts to transcend a mono- or intramedial narratology in the direction of an inter- or transmedial one, using as a point of departure general parts of literary narratology. After a survey of the present, unsatisfactory state of affairs, which includes an often fuzzy use of the term ‘narrative’ (part 1), an intermedially applicable theory of narrativity is presented (part 2). In its first section (2.1.), as a result of a discussion of the nature of narrative, its main functions and extra-compositional as well as intracompositional factors, frame theory and prototype theory are proposed as basic approaches. The second section (2.2.) gives a general survey of the main elements and levels of an intermedial narratological model. The third section (2.3.) concentrates on specific stimuli which are able to trigger the frame ‘narrative’. Most important among them are the prototypical features of narratives, so-called ‘narremes’ (which include basic ‘qualitative’, content, and syntactic ‘narremes’). These ‘narremes’ are illustrated with reference to the genre of fairy tales (“Bluebeard” in particular) as a prototypical case of narrativity. Part 3 is dedicated to the narrative potential of the visual arts. It gives a survey of some aspects and problems of art-historical narratology and discusses the (limited) narrative potential of single pictures (represented, in the variant of the polyphase picture, by Benozzo Gozzoli’s “Salome’s Dance and the Beheading of John the Baptist”, and, in the variant of the monophase picture, by John Cousen’s steel engraving of Arthur Hughes’ “Ophelia”). Picture series, which possess a greater narrative potential, are also addressed, using the example of William Hogarth’s Marriage A-la-Mode. Part 4 is dedicated to yet another medium, namely (instrumental) music. After some general reflections on musical semantics and the limited possibilities of ‘pure’ music to point beyond itself, the second movement of Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 in G major is shown to be able to elicit at least some narrativity, albeit in reduced and very vague form. In conclusion (part 5) various media are compared to each other in a summary way with reference to their degree of narrative potentials.] 

Selected Essays on Intermediality by Werner Wolf (1992–2014)

Theory and Typology, Literature-Music Relations, Transmedial Narratology, Miscellaneous Transmedial Phenomena


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