Speaking out of turn: paraleptical paralipsis and the millennial bildungsroman

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University of New Brunswick


This dissertation applies Genettian open poetics to paraleptical paraliptical diegesis to isolate first- and third-person chronotopes, their intersections, and their architextual significance for the concept of omniscience. This application is a response to recent analyses of Gerard Genette's Narrative Discourse: An Essay on Method and Mikhail Bakhtin' s scholarship on the bildungsroman. It challenges this emerging body of criticism by disputing the popular notion that Bakhtin approaches narrative with greater acumen than Genette. Moreover, it works to shift the debate away from notions of theoretical merit and toward broader issues of how certain Genettian and Bakhtinian concepts can be reconciled to redefine the boundaries of narratological inquiry. The argument orders particular theories of paralipsis, chronotope, and omniscience into an interpretive scheme that is sensitive to the significance of narrative objects and the poetic systems that are brought to such objects in the course of analysis. The approach is distinct within the context of the broad classical and post-classical traditions that have come to define narratology. It is modeled with investigations of four contemporary bildungsromans selected on the basis of the related structural challenges they pose for the aligned theories. These works include Yann Martel's Life of Pi (2001), Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees (1996), Stephen King's Desperation (1996), and Cormac McCarthy's The Road (2006). By considering how these developments extend from each narrative's general aesthetic concerns, this dissertation contributes to established scholarship on these novels, their relevant literary contexts, and the examined terms.