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Recent Trends in Narratological Research

John Pier

Apparent Feature-Anomalies in Subjectivized Third-Person Narration

Gordon Collier


The Australian Patrick White's novel, The Solid Mandala, is a useful test-case for theories of the text-constitution of character consciousness. The contrasting sections of third-person narration reflect the psychology of two dissimilar twins. Previous accounts of the novel have tended either to deduce an intrusive auctorial narrator or (a decidedly minority view) a narrating instance which mediates characterological traits (classic Free Indirect Discourse). After listing a broad, coherent and consistent range of narrational features in White's fiction that point to thoroughly subjectivized or wholly figural narration, the present study then focuses on two features that are, in narratological models, customarily situated towards the opposite pole to subjectivized, figural discourse. These two features as they occur in White — gnomic present-tense utterances or comment clauses, and non-pronominal naming gradients — have anything but "anomalous" status. The discussion inverts the notion of a narrator imitating a character (Free Indirect Discourse), positing instead a vector involving characters whose awareness or repression of the role-relationship interface between self and other leads them quite naturally to play out mentally the identity of a third-person narrator. The pragmatic psychological anchorage of the analytical procedures leading to this hypothesis is, in conclusion, linked with the developing model of frame analysis.

Texte intégral


1Patrick White's fiction I would label "fiction of consciousness," yet in its peculiar narrativity it is light-years removed from exemplars of stream of consciousness, and also wholly individual in its use of Free Indirect Discourse (FID). One of the cardinal virtues of "natural narratology" is to pick us up and set us back down at the inception of all processes of story-making; the first guiding principle or quantum theory is that all fiction has to do with consciousness. This may well empty out the force of my belief that novelists like White, Faulkner, James and Dostoevsky are the masters of the "fiction, of consciousness."

2White's The Solid Mandata is a useful test-case for theories of the text-constitution of consciousness. It is for most of its length a fiction of twin consciousness, having two main sections, 'Waldo" and "Arthur," devoted to the eponymous, somatically and characterologically dissimilar twins. The narration is third-person. Most critics of White's work take it for granted that his novels are regulated by conspicuous, ironical control, even intrusiveness, on the part of what we might still dare to call an "auctorial narrator" — a kind of Jamesian Dickens. I am unable to align myself with this. Neither White nor a narrating stand-in for White is a functional presence in the twin narratives. The stories of the twins appear to be narrated, told, but the centre of consciousness in each case is that of the twin concerned; in Dorrit Cohn's term, there are "transparent minds" present. In these central sections, there cannot be said to be any representational hybridity, syncretism, melding, or slippage. The "malleability of language" indicated by Monika Fludernik in her discussion of the post-realist phenomena of reflectorization and figuralization does not extend to The Solid Mandata, but internal focalization does, even though it is not "conceived as part of, as well as abetting, authorial omniscience" (Fludernik, 1996, 172). Reflectorization combines "the knowledge of the narrator with the focalization and language of a character present on the scene, but is identical to neither the narrator nor a specific identifiable character" (Fludernik, 1996, 181). In The Solid Mandata, there is no sense of a narrator's knowledge: knowledge, focalization and language are identical to a specific identifiable character. There is thus no ironic narratorial dissociation from the characters' "false" values (ibid.). Figuralization is "the evocation of a deictic centre of subjectivity in a reflector-mode narrative that has no ruling figural consciousness attached to it"; in this "figuralized narrative," the reader is empathetically projected into the figure of an observer "on the scene" (Fludernik, 1996, 197-98). In The Solid Mandata, the reader is empathetically projected into, at most, "a deictic centre of subjectivity" which is a "ruling figural consciousness."

3All prior reader-responses to White's fictions and their narrational characteristics (with the signal exception of Hilary Heltay's admirable approach) have assumed that a narrator was present who could not be identified with a central character or a shifting array of characters. For them, White practised "authorial narrative." Heltay's inclination was to accept the classic erlebte Rede theory of functional overlay — the thin man of a character trying to struggle out of the body of a fat narrator, or vice versa. My view was to assume the functioning of mediative agency: that stories were being told, but that White had renounced the double game and had fashioned a construct of characters narrating themselves — telling, showing, experiencing, sensing — in the third person.

Features of subjectivized third-person narration

4To provide a perspective on the kinds of coverage central in creating an assemblage of indices that might coalesce into a characterization of White's narrative style, here are some of the topics I dealt with in an earlier study (Collier, 1992). I studied the localization of action in time via temporal deixis, analepsis and prolepsis, and the perspective from which action is represented, including ostensible instances of "outside somatic views"; it could be demonstrated at the micro- and macrostructural levels that Waldo's and Arthur's sections of the novel are wholly subjectivized. "Seeming" indices (indicatives, modals such as "might have," discourse markers such as "apparently," adverbial clauses such as "as though"), which are often classed as the pseudo-conjecture of external narration, exhibit a strongly differentiated correlation with the otherwise deducible psychology of the central characters. Aspectuality (psychologically relational progressives, for example) had to be presented in some detail, as their use in White often puzzled his critics; comparative analysis showed a higher incidence of such progressives in White's fiction than in that of any other major modernist I examined. Although the progressive, like Flaubert's imparfait, is the stock-in-trade of narratologists discussing FID, quantitative considerations do, along with other narratological features, prompt the question of the extent to which a specific "stylistics of narrational techniques" might be a worthwhile goal. The whole area of shifted modals and conditionality is, of course, analysed with respect to FID, but these categories, too, reveal patterns of characterological differentiation on the one hand and interesting patterns of marked preference and implementation that, like other features, point towards the existence of a "mind-style" peculiar to White (or, rather, to his view of the workings of consciousness). I discuss patterns of iconicity typical of subjectivized narration and take over wholesale Seymour Chatman's approach to the analysis of psychological verbs and predications in James, with results which again correlate exclusively with character consciousness, as does my analysis of textcohesion and patterns of deixis (definite, demonstrative, "it"). An essentially non-narratological clutch of features is constituted by categories of logico-grammatical linkage in White (e. g., with "so," "then," "for" and "because") which run counter to the modernist preference for "inferred linkage"; far from indicating the presence of an "auctorially" aligned narrator, these indices correlate exclusively with differentiated centres of character consciousness. The same applies to the quintessential feature of White's style, which is his tendency to construct individual sentences that effectively circumvent the principles both of parataxis and of hypotaxis; this discourse-structuring technique, which has baffled and infuriated many a critic of White, constitutes what I have called "ataxis" (but with a quite different spin from Bernhard Fehr, 1938: "ataxis" as "substitutionary perception" [103-104], or Helmut Bonheim, 1982: "ataxis" as "syntactic fragments" [65]), and serves exclusively to represent the pulse and emphases of figural consciousness. Similar in function are White's speech-tag practices (the "he said" bits commonly termed "inquits").

Two feature-"anomalies"

5At least for the one text The Solid Mandala, and by analytical extension to White's fictions generally, the above features make out my prime facie case for subjectivized third-person narration beyond the classic models of FID and stream of consciousness. I have left to last two areas which are customarily banished beyond the pale of interior focalization or narratives of character consciousness based on the third person, and which, in awareness of exclusionary models or rules of thumb, I shall sceptically term feature-'anomalies." The one has to do with the pervasive presence in White's fictions of "gnomic" statements in the present tense. The other is White's gradation of character-identification, where replacive pronominalization plays a conspicuously minor role in comparison with "objectivizing" nominals — a procedure which I have termed White's peculiar approach to "modal deixis." If the above array of features is inclusively and exclusively indicative of subjectivized thirdperson narration, then the two features (or groups of features) reported on below cannot have "anomalous" status within White's texts and cannot be excluded as indices of subjectivization. I should add at this point that I cannot regard the points at issue as illustrations of the practice of stylistic "deviation," as the very scepticism conveyed by my echoic use of the term "anomalous" already implies that I am troubled by the idea of having to proceed from normative models of expressivity in prose fiction. My assertion above that White is "wholly individual" does not mean that I regard him as a "deviant" narrative stylist.

Feature-"anomaly" 1: Gnomic statements

6"Gnomic" statements in the present tense have been taken by White's critics universally as an indicator of the author's obtrusive commentative presence. This is the usual view (e. g., Lodge, 1984, 103) of a phenomenon forming the chief constituent of the narrative mode called "commentary" or "comment." Unlike report, speech and description, comment is "ideational" because it is independent of the parameters of time and space even though it reflects on matters which arise in fictive time and space. Comment is easily identifiable as such: it is not susceptible to "epic" back-shifting of tense, and inhabits a "neutral time-sphere" (according to Bronzwaer, 1970, 51, who finds the phenomenon unproblematical enough not to discuss it). Bonheim (1982, 12, 30) also regards this mode as easily identifiable: it uses "evaluative modifiers, generalizations not imputed to one of the fictional characters, or judgments using a fairly high level of abstraction." Comment in fiction relates, in genre-terms, to the "essay, philosophical discourse, sermon, or newspaper editorial," and is avoided by "writers of fiction in our age" (except for the postmodernists), "especially in its pure forms, that is, unalloyed with the other modes, at sentence and paragraph length and in the present tense" (1982, 31). It can be seen how problematical the category of comment might prove to be in the case of Patrick White's fiction, especially when the mode is understood in its broader manifestations, and in view of Bonheim's prescriptive aesthetic aside that "too much comment spoils a work of art" (ibid.).

7Critical presuppositions play a large part in determining the presence of comment in narratives. There is, even in Cohn, a tendency to seize on superficial formal characteristics as signalling only auctorial comment and a concomitant rationalizing away of contradictory evidence (the maximum position allowed being a "marriage" of irony between narrator and character). Bonheim's category depends upon the identification of contextual, text-pragmatic determinants which make comment necessarily non-figural: generalizations must not be imputed (explicitly, one assumes) to "one of the fictional characters." On the other hand, comment for Bonheim depends for its identification on partially applicable formal considerations such as present-tense marking. Other markers include conjuncts and disjuncts such as after all, possibly, it might be that for "observations and connections" not expected "of a casual spectator." The connecting observer who is not "a casual spectator" need not, however, be a non-figural consciousness. These formal markers are not primarily evidence for the presence of narratorial comment, but are potential second-level corroborations of a classification reached by logical, deductive means. The gnomic sentences in The Solid Mandala are formally and contextually (text-pragmatically) figural. If my assertion of zero-degree comment in The Solid Mandala is valid, then there are no grounds for assuming that White the artist is by nature an interfering implied-auctorial presence in all his fictions.

8It should at this point be mentioned that current narrative theory allows for the retention of the present tense in FID (as in reported speech) "in 'general saws', proverbs, timeless truths" (McHale, 1978, 252, note 3). As an extension of this, once FID has been established, "the present tense can be safely used to convey subjective statements, if there is an advantage in so doing. For a generalisation... the present tense makes the assertion seem more confident and dogmatic" (Pascal, 1977, 83; cf. also 96). Statements of a universal nature involve different "insinuations" in the present tense from those conveyed in a FID "past" tense: a shift out of the gnomic present invariably lends temporal meaning to generalizations so that they lose their "claim to absolute truth" and seem to be thoughts (of characters) devised as rationalizations (Pascal, 1977, 49). One can, of course, always proceed on the principle adopted by Chatman, Cohn and Bonheim and consider the possibility (for them, the probability) that a present-tense generalization is auctorial-narratorial; but one has to weigh up the effect of this on textual comprehension against the effect achieved contextually if one postulates that the generalization is figural (there is a good example of the application of such a deductive procedure to a passage from Flaubert in Pascal, 1977, 101-102).

Feature-"anomaly" 1: Statements in immediate context

9Gnomic statements characteristically co-occur in White with certain markers. Some features are narratologically formal, others contextual and related to the sense conveyed by the gnomic formulation. More than one marker may apply to a given passage.

  • 1 Cf. Quirk et al. (1972, 669, note [b]). Greenbaum (1969, 70-71) classifies so as an "illative" con (...)

101. The So-marker. The presence of a sentence beginning with So immediately after a gnomic statement can indicate a shift of consciousness from an inward rationalization (of the form taken by — or given by Waldo to — an inward vision) to a concentration on inward or external perception. In the following example, Waldo, lighting a lamp after entering the darkness of his mother's bedroom, holds up one of her old dresses between himself and a mirror, exhilarated at the icy, metallic, sequinned image of the past evoked (as well as the present transvestite persona he himself has "entered" thereby): "Standing as she had never stood in fact, because, although memory is the glacier in which the past is preserved, memory is also licensed to improve on life. So he became slightly drunk with the colours he lit on entering" (192). The frame is FID-subjective (preceding: "He need not mention names, but"; "he could see"; the self-congratulatory "designed by special cunning"; the disjunctive syntax of "Standing"; following: the expressive "How his heart contracted"). Waldo becomes "slightly drunk" because the "two selves" of his maternal ancestry are standing there in unreal transformation: "So" links this fantasy-perception to the emotional reaction entailed, with the gnomic statement between the two. The result-aspect of "So" is maintained in the direct connection between improvement on life (the gnomic sentence) and the force of Waldo's reaction. The resultative force of so is attenuated in one dimension here, and a lesser degree of rationalization is apparent in the gnomic statement. The adverbial behaves as though it were summing up, resuming, or joining logically the sentences on either side of the gnomic statement,1 but is in fact retained in another dimension. In the next example, the whole of the paragraph (including the gnomic sentence with its expressive indices) is FID, as is the previous paragraph.

Take Goethe. Goethe must have worn a track.... The vanity was that men believed their thought remained theirs once turned over to the public. All those goggle-eyed women reverent... trailing... and earnest young people Fingering.... because it is ordained that great works of art.... done-by-the-public sculpture.

So Waldo raced the traffic up the Barranugli Road. (118)

11The emergence from thought into action is signalled by the single-sentence paragraph with "So." The resumptive sense connects Waldo's continuing hurried walking with the implied inception of this at "scuttled" on the previous page. The resultative sense of "So" connects the anxiety generated by Waldo's thoughts (gnomic present) with an increase in speed of walking and with sharpened present awareness.

122. Aspect and transition-marking. The occurrence of gnomic statements immediately before sentences in the past progressive similarly indicates figural consciousness emerging from inward contemplation into perception of an external situation: "He took his brother by the hand.... But twin brothers, brothers of a certain age, at times only remember what has been laid down in the beginning. § They were walking on" (57; § marks a new paragraph). This has the additional, internal feature of a coyness or vagueness — "brothers of a certain age" — that has no point unless generated figurally. The following reveals rationalization, and includes a simile using a specific detail from the local context in such a way as to compromise the universality of the gnomic statement: "As it was, Waldo could even make a compensation out of the prospect of prolonged mutual habit. Habit in weaker moments is soothing as sugared bread and milk. § Arthur was now preparing to go in and make the bread and milk" (204).

133. Rationalization. Many of the gnomic sentences can be regarded contextually as figural rationalizations. The gnomic statements conform to Pascal's view that the present-tense form lends strong, dogmatic status and to his suggestion that a past-tense form would signal a personal rationalization. Rationalization, in White's representations of mental processes, must momentarily convince the character who is thinking (just as, at the macrostructural level, Waldo's distortions of temporal relations must not be perceived immediately by the reader, or by Waldo, for what they are). The following gnomic is a semantic joke: "He had never felt guiltier, but guilt will sometimes solidify; he could not have moved for a shotgun" (61). Generalization here represents mental flight from full acknowledgement of personal guilt: a flux of emotion is, as it were, gnomically frozen, kept at arm's length by introspection. This sentence is, in effect, also a resurfacing into discourse of the gnomic thought (with FID markings) expressed in the following (both contexts having the twins'neighbour Mrs Poulter, looking, and the guilt-nexus in common): "The dust-coloured bus plunged.... Look into a passing bus, and more often than not you will see something you would rather not Mrs Poulter's face was too stupid" (60).

144. Comparisons and citations. Gnomic statements may take the form of universalizing comparisons that are self-defensive strategies, neutralizing and distancing potential antagonists by their knowledgeable reduction to items in a predictable set: "Saporta stood smiling in the manner of those men who will never have anything of importance to say and in its absence hopefully allow good-will to ooze out of the pores of their faces. He had despised Saporta from the beginning" (64). To this extent, the gnomic statements constitute rationalizations. The following is a "citation" after an impersonal passive tag, the whole being embedded in FID: "the cleft hinted at again in the chin, which, it was said, is the sign of a lover. Waldo almost sneeze-laughed. Love me, Cranko, in a white hat!" (172).

155. Immediacy. The gnomic present may, in contradistinction to group 4, convey the immediacy of present figural thought — a kind of stunned sense of the individual's cognitive will being lost in an ocean of paralyzing contingency, as in the following: "trying to remember what his intentions could have been. But he was unable. Intentions exist only in time. §'Give me my spect — my glasses,' he was able to order" (67). Or present figural recollection of habitual past experience attains a kind of comforting universal validity: "Remembering the springy green cushions grass can become as it collaborates with sleep, he decided to take the train back" (309).

166. Tagged discourse. Here, a verb of mental operation (or, in a wider sense, a tag) is found in the immediate vicinity of the gnomic statement. The following looks like a good instance of auctorial-narratorial comment, in view of the verbal configuration of the gnomic passage:

Arthur did not particularly notice Dulcie's greyness or her glasses, nor that Mr Saporta was setting in fat, because friends and lovers enjoy a greater freedom than their bodies: they are at liberty to move out of them, and by special dispensation, communicate with one another through farsighted eyes.

It was Waldo who suffered, Arthur regretted, from his meeting (279)

17This would be distanced comment if we were to take it as a representation of articulated rather than preverbal thought. But the clincher for figural consciousness comes in the next paragraph with its focusing (therefore linking) cleft-sentence structure and the tag-clause "Arthur regretted."

18At the level of what is traditionally regarded as the strongest indication of formal narrative dissonance — the gnomic present-tense statement — the discourse of The Solid Mandata exhibits the closest consonance between non-direct speech and figural consciousness where processes of rationalization, mental evasiveness, and/or aphorismcoining are contextually discernible. The narrative is in this respect wholly "reliable." In terms of traditional narratological frames dealing with FID, this cannot be the case where such features are all-pervasive in third-person narration. In White, however, this is very much the case.

Feature-"anomaly" 2: Character-identification as "modal deixis"

19White's practice in having characters or actants identified is "anomalous." I have been able to demonstrate for The Solid Mandata, and for other works of White, that the sliding scale leading from periphrastic nominalization through full and emotively reduced proper names to replacive pronouns ("his friend," "George Brown," "Waldo," "he") fails to have validity as a test for distinguishing the authorial pole of narrative from that of character-consciousness in White. If "a number of authors use NPs rather than pronouns also in passages of consciousness description, usually for ironic purposes" (Fludernik, 1993, 141), this does not yet suffice as a reassurance of the "normality" of White's practice, which does not correlate so much with irony as with the monitoring nature of consciousness.

20Character-identification is included under deixis on grounds of convenience. As with the treatment of spatial, temporal and affective dimensions, the concept of relative distance is involved, on the plane of narrative perspective, focalization, or modality and thus forms part of "modal deixis." It is normal for the reader to assume that the naming of characters in narrative is a functional index to the presence of an auctorial narrator, whereas an increase in the frequency of substitutive reference ("familiar" names in "outward" reference, personal pronouns in reflexive contexts) indicates an empathetic entry into the mind of the character being referred to.

21Stanzel (1982, 245) relies on the universal validity of this assumption in marking out the criteria for "personal" or figural narration. Macrotextual considerations are often dominant in Stanzel's reasoning: hence, in his chief example, Joyce's Portrait, where the "early-draft" periphrases of Stephen Hero are dropped, the use of names is restricted, and Stephen is referred to throughout by the personal pronoun. In a summary presentation of his own earlier studies on narrational personalization in Joyce's Ulysses, Stanzel (1982, 226-232 passim) rightly indicates the subtle way in which the consciousness of the figural "medium" has had the consciousness of the auctorial "medium" superimposed upon it (this narrational melding resembles in part the ambiguity of focalization often encountered in FID and is one manifestation of what Bakhtin calls "bivocality"; cf. also Pascal, 1977, 21).

22Sympathetic qualification (e. g., "poor Strether" in James) and "auctorial periphrasis" (e. g., "our hero") are non-neutral indices of auctorial presence — significantly absent from The Solid Mandala. If "our hero" is clearly complicitous, most other forms of classificatory periphrasis are narratorially neutral. Periphrasis is employed, it is commonly assumed, as elegant variation — an auctorial or narratorial means of introducing variety (a service to the implied reader as reader). But it can also be implemented (often simultaneously with the intention of reducing monotony) for ironic, analytical reasons, as in the following sentence, where there are thematic and contextual reasons for choosing this normally less likely sequence: "She [Mrs Poulter] turned to investigate her friend's [here, Mrs Dun] seamed and yellow cheek, but Mrs Dun was too discreet to cash in on anyone's approval" (17). The term "elegant variation" implies an element of sophisticated choice, all things being equal. But White is not interested in variety for its own sake and is also prepared to engage in "inelegant" variation. Whatever their function might be as an index to narratorial presence, White's shiftings of designation are always locally specific or situationally evaluative, usually with the aim of indicating figural reaction of some kind.

23White is quite capable of sovereignly ironic play with the convention of elegant variation: perhaps the best example is the naming texture of Voss, which is intentionally (intertextually) contaminated by the high-Victorian extreme of this technique. On the surface, the result can have an almost parodistic feel to it, and the reader's sense of mocking, wilful, mandarin authority is reinforced. As soon as one stops trying to brush away these annoyingly persistent flies (the hypnotic — almost unvaried — recurrence of "the German" instead of "Voss," for example) and decides for once to test them for their functionality, one discovers that they constitute a most subtle metering system for psychological attitude. It is, for example, not for the sake of elegant variation that Mr Bonner's first private encounter with Voss (15-20) should have "the [shabby/cloudy] German" in proximity to Bonner's view of his visitor, and "Voss" whenever the latter's own thoughts and opinions are mediated independently of Bonner's evaluations, or that Mr Bonner's shape-changing ("Mr Bonner," "Edmund Bonner," "the merchant," "the draper," "the thick man," "the man whose money was involved") should (with the single exception of Voss's designation of him as "his patron") be keyed to variations in the man's own sense of social identity.

24The principle of substitution (pronoun to name, or vice versa) clearly has a functional aspect at the straightforward level of text-cohesion. Pronouns replace names wherever speaker-identification is not otherwise ambiguous. Names are used obligatorily (often after untagged dialogue) in Section 1 of The Solid Mandala, for example, to avoid association with a different person (name or pronoun) or to individuate from a plural pronoun, irrespective of whether the immediately preceding utterance is in direct speech or not. To avoid the possible confusion of speakers in longer strings of dialogue, names are occasionally introduced with neutral tag-verbs. Where this signposting of dialogue is not necessary, there is character-focalized mediation of thoughts, feelings and perceptions. Although the "frame" may be clearly narratorial ("Mrs Poulter"), the pronominalizations contained therein are indices to figural consciousness, as are the accompanying external namings (e. g., "Bill" for personal perspective, "Bill Poulter" for his wife's perception of his public identity) and periphrases ("her husband"). We may, of course, still speak of a blending of "media," but it is a rough blend only, with character-awareness rising to the surface and occluding the functionally identifying presence of a non-characterological narrating instance.

25These assertions require further elucidation. As they clash in part with Stanzel's rules of thumb, I should perhaps turn briefly to his narrative theory once more. In discussing passages from the Wandering Rocks episode of Ulysses, Stanzel notes that the extracts examined (various occasions on which Father Conmee encounters people on the street and talks to them) reveal ruptures in the conventions of nonfigural narrative, as well as stretches of FID in which the consciousness registering the conversation is not that of Father Conmee, but that of a third person (the auctorial narrator) whose style of narrating begins to resemble that of a "reflector'-character. Stanzel's proof for the absence of internal perspective in the narration is the repeated occurrence of name and honorific instead of the personal pronoun: "Father Conmee was wonderfully well indeed"; "Father Conmee was very glad indeed to hear that"; "Father Conmee was very glad to see the wife of Mr David Sheehy M. P. looking so well." These sentences are "approximate transpositions" of what Father Conmee and Mrs Sheehy say to each other. Stanzel does not remark on the "replacement" of "her" (for direct-speech "you") by "the wife of Mr David Sheehy M. P." in a statement whose wording is otherwise parallel to spoken idiom. This, like the presence of "Father Conmee" instead of "he," would support Stanzel's view that the perspective is external — were it not for the pragmatic context, which can be identified as the verbal interaction of a parishioner with a priest in the latter's extended social (rather than narrowly pastoral) role. It is, of course, possible to imagine an observer formally (and persistently) identifying the priest in this role by so naming him (and, presumably, omitting to grant Mrs Sheehy the same degree of referential attention), and to assume that a persistent use of "he" would shift the perspective to Father Conmee's own consciousness.

26However, replacing the names with pronouns produces a curious effect which we would surely resist: the statements quoted above now feel as though they fully endorse the sentiments expressed — as though there were thought behind utterance, or thought instead of utterance. It is also possible if we consider the original formulations again that Father Conmee is himself aware that he is addressing a parishioner — and not, say, an intimate friend or personal acquaintance — and that the formal naming is an index to his awareness that he is speaking phatically in the capacity indicated by the designation "Father Conmee." In this case, what is being conveyed to us in FID is the speaker's/figural narrator's pragmatic self-image, which is constantly being checked in the mirror of consciousness registering the probable expectations of the addressee (in this case, Mrs Sheehy, who is classified by the speaker in terms of her socio-marital status). This consciousness of self could also be present when the priest chats jocularly and paternally with "three little schoolboys" (Stanzel, 1982, 230). Once again, Father Conmee is aware, while speaking, that he is executing a social function expected of a priest and that the boys know he is a priest (he is, after all, doubtless dressed as one). Stanzel, however, takes the sentence "The boys sixeyed Father Conmee and laughed" in order to demonstrate perspectival superimposition — "sixeyed" being an index to figural consciousness, "Father Conmee" to external narration. I have no quarrel with Stanzel's conclusion that the narration is "personalized" — only with the firmness of his assumption that nomen instead of pronomen must mean nonfigural orientation. There should be a system of safeguards allowing consideration of psychological and text-pragmatic determinates alongside our conventional reactions to patterns of referentiality that are linguistically determined.

27I should like now to test the assumption that naming instead of pronominalization, together with various levels of naming or nomination, can differentiate levels of figural subjectivity rather than being just narratorial mediation. This can be seen in various deictic sequences in The Solid Mandala in instances where Stanzel's theory is not involved in any way, notably with passages in which Waldo or Arthur is represented as thinking of or reacting to ("acting" towards) somebody other than himself. Such instances customarily involve elegant variation and the disambiguating use of names to ensure the identity of actants. The Brown parents are referred to as follows in Sections 2 and 3 of the novel:

the parents

his mother and father

Mother and Dad

George Brown

(Anne Quantrell)

their father

their mother

his father

his mother

the old man



28Pronominal reference ("he," "she," "they") is, of course, also present. "Mother" and "Dad" are markers of stylistic register. They indicate individual social role-relationships in such a way that the "mode of expression" is "incompatible with the narrator's voice"; passages including such namings are classifiable as FID or, at the very least, as extremely consonant psychonarration (Banfield, 1973, 23-24; McHale, 1978, 270, Cohn 1978 passim). Such indices to figural consciousness are the rule throughout Waldo's and Arthur's narratives, and furnish a kind of norm against which to measure deflections.

Feature-"anomaly" 2: Statements in immediate context

29Arthur's narrative employs these family-relationship names so persistently that the very few occasions on which other forms occur are conspicuous enough to require explanation. When Arthur senses that his histrionics have embarrassed his father (230), it is still "Dad" whom he feels "turn against him." A couple of paragraphs on, the shift from "Dad didn't seem to think it would" to "For his father it would have been detestable" could be explained as elegant variation. However, this is not the case, as the topical context has to do with the (im)possibility of an empathetic relationship between an "afflicted" father and his "afflicted" son: Arthur's mental speculation encodes the distance at which he now perceives himself to be from "Dad." Relationships are also invoked when Arthur decides to ask for help in explaining the word "totality" (239). He mentally singles out "Dad, or Waldo" as possible "intimate" sources of information on this topic, which relates to the very core of his being, but Waldo is discarded as an option: "But suddenly he knew his brother wouldn't"; "That left their father." Nouns instead of names hint not only at the speculative or notional level on which Arthur mulls over the problem of appealing to authority, but also at the anticipated distancing of Waldo. The relationship is subjectively reduced, but is maintained in the sibling reference involved in "their" (instead of "his"), which is then repeated in "Why did he not propose to ask their mother, he wasn't sure" (distance again). The moment at which Arthur actually makes his final decision implies a shift from speculative distance to perceptual immediacy and subjective commitment: "So there was Dad. Cleaning his moustache of salmon."

30What now occurs is an unprecedented shift to formal naming when Arthur registers Mr Brown's reactions (239-240) to his question: "George Brown looked at first as though he had been hit"; "Again George Brown might have been recovering from a blow"; "George Brown recommended." Such namings do not indicate a temporary reversion to auctorial perspective: they suggest, rather, the impact on Arthur's consciousness of gestural behaviour which makes his father "unfamiliar" to him. Arthur sees him as others would see him if they were not friends or members of the family: he is bathed in the naked light of public neutrality, a mere human being like anybody else, lacking the privilege of filial trust. His apophthegmatic wisdom ("'Accuracy in the first place can only be called a virtue'"), articulated mentally in a situation where he has already amply demonstrated his uncertainty, is an attempt to set up a façade of impersonal expertise: "George Brown recommended" implies as much. Arthur's expectations have not yet been shattered — he accepts this "public" pronouncement, although it is not to be received as a communication wholly characteristic of "Dad." The three occurrences of "George Brown" remain isolated moments of alienated perception. Arthur's father is constantly refamiliarized here as "Dad," even when he exposes his bumbling inadequacy in responding to his son's enquiry. The suggestion we are left with is of Arthur's acceptance of this inadequacy: "Then Arthur realized Dad would never know, any more than Waldo"; any less familiar a naming would have signalled distancing rejection.

31Distancing and rejection are involved on the next occasion in the text when the designation "Dad" fails to occur — on the morning Arthur discovers his father's corpse (269): "the morning their father died"; "finding their father in the dark room"; "Arthur touched George Brown's hand"; "Not that George Brown had done more than withdraw from Arthur a second time"; "Excepting the morning George Brown died." Mr Brown has ceased to exist in a way that would allow Arthur to think of him as "Dad." Instead, the discourse refers to him in relation to both of the boys: "their father" is contiguous with reference to Waldo. The original, emotional, withdrawal (230) was maximized by the use of "their father"; the second and final physical withdrawal takes Arthur's father irretrievably beyond filial claims into the realm of the public and the impersonal: "George Brown" is, in Arthur's consciousness, severed from role-relationships and "exists" only in terms of the most generally valid yet most specifically personal of nominal designations. This form of naming persists in retrospective narration, in a context of naming where "Dulcie and Leonard got married" represents the norm of familiarity: "That was already as far back as 1922, the year George Brown had died" (274). This distancing is not markedly apparent in the case of Mrs Brown, for whom "Mother" is the usual form of reference: "After Mother's death their twin lives would not have diverged" (274). Here, the alternative "their mother" does not offer itself, on stylistic grounds, as this occurs elsewhere only when Arthur is conscious of filial obligation to her and of fraternal obligation to Waldo simultaneously (e. g., 272-273) and on the sole occasion on which he comes close to expressing discontent at his mother's loss of interest in him ("Arthur would have liked to admire their mother less" [269]).

32Waldo lays so much claim to Mrs Brown's affections that the normative alternation in his narrative is between "Mother" and the proprietorial "his mother" (e. g., 28, 120, 145, 162, 167), which excludes sharing her with Arthur. "Their mother" occurs very occasionally: when Waldo ruminates on family relationships (72, 160); when Arthur's co-presence cannot be denied (71, 72, 158); and once when it is clear to Waldo that Mrs Brown has distanced herself from her children (158). Twice (in connection with a proleptic reference to her death, and with reference to her cremation) she is named a "true Quantrell" (167, 171) — an expression of Waldo's desire to restore her to "dynastic" status by removal from the nominal, stigmatic ambience of her husband. Once, the narration has to be "corrected" as an imperiously indulgent mental gesture on Waldo's part to accommodate Arthur ("Some people would have considered his — their mother, dowdy" [120]). Narrative perspective is sometimes ruffled by insertions of "Mrs Brown" into passages otherwise referring to "Mother." In such cases, we can imagine Waldo perceiving his mother playing a social or "public" role in (narrationally approximated) conversation with people outside the family circle.

33In Waldo's discourse, the word "Dad" cannot be regarded as more than a token of familiarity and is thus not an index to positive emotional attachment. The relationship is constantly neutralized into passively accepted consanguinity ("their father"). Proprietorial reference ("his father") occurs, not as an act of will (cf. "his mother"), but solely where Waldo is unavoidably confronted with parental authority in situations excluding Arthur, and where such confrontations impinge forcefully on Waldo's emotions. The ultimate in neutrality is reached in the frequent identification of Waldo's father as "George Brown." I attempted above to justify this designation as a reflex of Arthur's attitude, forbearing to mention that its occurrences have an explicit prehistory in Waldo's section.

34Directly after a long passage on the twins' childhood relationship with their father (referred to as "Dad"), there is the statement: "Often strangers, and always children, were fascinated by George Brown's boot, which was something members of the family hardly noticed" (33-34). Now, this could easily be taken for a momentary auctorial intrusion, but contextual details undermine this assumption. Disjunctive constructions precede, implying emotive involvement, and the status of Mr Brown's limp as habitual and unnoticed is placed in question by the fact that Waldo is then represented as watching "their father limp down Terminus Road," where Waldo's consciousness is (narrationally) still conditioned by the emotive distance of "George Brown," and can return to close familiarity ("As Dad walked his thin lips were slightly parted" [34]) only in stages. Waldo has been looking at his father through the eyes of "strangers": by which token "George Brown" is not meant to be a name that these "strangers, and always children" could readily put to the limping man. "George Brown" is simply Waldo's sign for a complex process of estrangement from the Wounded Father — an estrangement whose existence Waldo can try to underplay (it is all too palpable elsewhere in the narrative), but which is sharply focused as soon as Waldo suffers humiliating implication in the public curiosity devoted to his father's surgical boot. The effect is ambivalent — perhaps confusingly so: both cold imaginative empathy and emotive dissociation.

35This kind of naming is soon topicalized, and Arthur is implicated in the act of naming: "Later on, when the twins got to refer to their father as 'George Brown', Arthur affectionately, Waldo with irony and understanding..." (37). The intention behind the appellation and the tonality of reference is not explained narratorially, but is taken as selfevident (i. e., by Waldo, on behalf of himself and his brother). A string of "George Brown" references, interspersed with "Dad," occurs when Waldo and his father are seated in the train and Mr Brown is agonizing his way through his dutiful explanation of the facts of life (77-79). Waldo is humiliated, embarrassed, scornful: his father is obviously as inadequate to the task as he is to explaining the word "totality" for Arthur. Although he is ostensibly trying to fulfil a standard paternal role, it is a role that is foreign to him, and one which Waldo refuses to acknowledge. The naming indicates both Mr Brown's estrangement from the role (in a public conveyance) and Waldo's resulting estrangement from his father. Few full namings by Waldo can be said to accord with the claim that the appellation "George Brown" is used "with irony and understanding." It is evident from many passages in the novel that the name "Brown" is dwelt upon because it evokes mediocrity, a total lack of distinction (at least as far as Waldo is concerned). Waldo's consciousness keeps throwing the name "George Brown" back in its bearer's face; even when this reproof is suppressed, it is a resonating undertone, so that it can truly be said that Waldo employs the name "with irony," if not with understanding (in the sense of sympathy). The most extreme juxtaposition is to be found in the passage: "his sympathies were somehow with Dad over The Brothers Karamazov. Which George Brown had carried to the bonfire with a pair of tongs" (199). This seems to violate cohesion rules ("George Brown" seems for a moment to be a different person from "Dad") until we see how Waldo's shifts of consciousness are precisely reflected. "Dad" occurs in a context where Waldo can afford to be concessive in his alignment with his father. Such is the case, for example, when Waldo aligns himself so securely with his mother that he can afford to bask in the role of husband-substitute, patting his safely absent father on the head, as it were: "Since Dad died in 1922 she had been dependent on him" [120]). The image then evoked when "George Brown" goes to destroy the book that threatens to expose the weakness of his rationalist beliefs is that of a resolute "public" Inquisitor. This "externalized" role, however, is perforce contaminated by the other connotations already set up in Waldo's consciousness by the name "George Brown," so that Waldo's endorsement of the act is subliminally undercut by pathetic negativity.

36Other "modal deictic" sequences exhibit a similarly sensitive correlation with a character's shifting emotive constitution of other persons. Arthur's discourse is either neutral-to-respectful in its namings ("Mr Saporta," "Mr Feinstein," "The woman at Barranugli/The woman/those people at Barranugli/Mr and Mrs Thompson" [218]; "Mrs Poulter/their neighbour/the woman in the iron hut" [256-257]) or unchangingly loyal to a fixed form of reference, as in the case of "Dulcie" (no matter whether her behaviour in his presence is positive or negative — except in his mystical mandala-dance before her, when he formally declares "his love for Dulcie Feinstein, and for her husband" [265]). Waldo's narrative, by contrast, is characterized by sudden swings (as between "Dad" and "George Brown") and a much more prominent emotive component; gradations in perception and familiarization are sensitively marked. The quintessential instance is the handling of Dulcie Feinstein at Waldo's first (89-98) and second-last (157) meetings with her. At the first meeting, the designation "Dulcie" is taken over at the outset from the direct speech of another character, even before Waldo has been introduced to her. Externalizing terms are then interspersed ("the girl Dulcie," "the girl in pink"). The initial, tentative stretch of conversation is prefaced prejudicially by a mental note on "this ugly dark girl," then conducted in subjective close-up, as it were, by means of wellnigh unrelieved pronoun reference. Waldo's self-defensive reduction of Dulcie is then signalled deictically in "this Dulcie" (91) before her full name is "quoted" ("Dulcie Feinstein," 94) in a context juxtaposing it favourably with the name "Brown." From now on, it is intermittently downhill, with the emotional stasis afforded by "she" or "Dulcie" being offset by a distancing use of her full name (95, 97-98). At the second-last meeting, where Waldo learns that Dulcie is engaged to Leonard Saporta, the prelude includes a "public" use of the full name as Waldo toys with the idea of marriage (149). Having pumped taut his fantasies of marital bliss, Waldo registers the identity of his love-object in the familiar form of "Dulcie" (150-156) until the truth dawns on him, at which stage there is a sharp reversion to "Dulcie Feinstein" (157), an attempt to regain superiority via reductive periphrasis ("a rather coarse little thing"), and a lapse into projective, sarcastic distancing ("Mrs Saporta" > "This giant incubator" > "Dulcie Feinstein Saporta" [157]).

37It could be expected that, because of sibling intimacy, narrative discourse which is figurally oriented would have one brother referring to the other by his Christian name (or, in the absence of coreferential ambiguity, as "he"). This is often enough the case: Waldo's narrative refers to "Arthur," Arthur's to "Waldo." Evaluative expressions requiring "the presence of some evaluating speaker other than the narrator" (McHale, 1978, 269) also indicate figural discourse or FID: "Poor Arthur" (42); "funny old Arthur" (76); "the wretched Arthur" (174); "poor [old] Waldo" (245, 290); "silly old Waldo" (249). Further away from the core of personal familiarity, however, there are role-relationship expressions ("his brother") which — leaving aside the remote possibility that an auctorial narrator might wish to remind the reader constantly of consanguinity — cannot be accounted for simply in terms of the stylistic desirability of elegant variation.

38It is made formally clear in Free Indirect Thought ("My brother, Waldo would breathe" [25]) and in FID ("It was all very well to hang on to your brother's hand" [229]) that the characters thinking are represented as themselves identifying the relationship. Elsewhere, it is the thematic and psychological tendency of the narrative as a whole which conditions us to read such expressions as "his brother," "Arthur his twin brother," "his twin brother Waldo," or "Waldo the twin" as reflecting the character's own preoccupation with the duties and burdens of fraternity and twinship. Harder to assimilate naturally is full-name reference (of the "George Brown" type already discussed). Arthur's narrative never has reference to "Waldo Brown," although there are frequent references in Waldo's narrative to "Arthur Brown," usually in close proximity to the familiar designation "Arthur." Sometimes, occurrences are plainly quasi-citational, as when Waldo speculates uncomfortably about what "other boys" might think of "Arthur Brown" and his domestic activities (36). Elsewhere, Waldo can be construed as perceiving his brother to be the object of "public" attention.

39The final problem to be examined is that of full-name reference to the focal character ("Waldo Brown"). As I stated at the outset, we are conditioned by linguistic convention to interpret such reference unquestioningly as external to the character, as originating in the consciousness of a dissonant or consonant (psycho)narrator. When we examine the more restricted domain of narration represented by FID, however, we find that current narrative theory rejects the validity of this assumption. Banfield (1973, 32) concedes that nouns are infrequent with reference to the subject of consciousness in FID, but her examples are all drawn from first-person narratives, where referential discordance is apt to be experienced most acutely by the reader. In a later, more elaborated study (Banfield, 1982, 311, note 19), she sets out the ground-rules: nouns and proper nouns can appear in FID but not in sentences of represented thought (which must employ pronouns). In "representations of perceptions (and of non-reflective conscious states in general) any appropriate [noun phrase] may refer to the SELF... as long as the appellation or description does not present information unknown to the SELF" (70-73); "the proper name is the name the SELF knows himself by, as opposed to such descriptive phrases [as]'the quaker librarian'[in Ulysses]" (206-209). This, then, can account for the coreferentiality of the Christian names with the focal figural consciousness: the frequency with which "Waldo" appears in Section 2 is not an index to an auctorial narrator's intimacy (affectionate or otherwise) with the presiding intelligence. In conventional third-person narratives, of course, with no formal markers of FID, the latter situation could be said to obtain (the mimetic representation of a one-sided relationship of intimacy between observing psychonarrator and the character observed). The Solid Mandala, however, cannot be termed a conventional narrative — and this by a long shot.

40In considering the possibility of non-focalized narration in terms of actional context, the naming-gradient "Mr Brown" > "Waldo Brown" > "Waldo" (183) can be regarded as explicable in terms of figural consciousness — Waldo's propensity to projective self-dramatization by writing himself into the Secret Writing of his life. All more "public" namings can be similarly explained, whether role-relationship markers (such as "the Brothers Brown"), surnames with courtesy-title ("Mr Brown"), or full and reduced forms ("Waldo Brown," "W. Brown"). To take the least usual forms first: "W. Brown of honourable service" (115) occurs in a passage of syntactically broken interior monologue, and signals Waldo's imaginatively "retrospective" observation of self as mediated by a eulogistic obituary. Occurrences of the courtesy-title ("'Who can say,' Mr Brown said" [166]; "Mr Crankshaw was several years his junior when appointed the superior of Mr Brown" [171]) indicate Waldo's consciousness of his own role in a professional context, for he questions Crankshaw's authority through noncommittal formality of tone and expression (even though the "said"-tag works ironically against the "say" of the rhetorical question), and "Mr Brown" also encodes Waldo's reaction to being so addressed by Crankshaw when the latter questions his efficiency. On page 171, details of the narration point to figural focus, quite apart from the book-end structure of the sentence, with the iconic distancing of the two names from each other and the inside-out coreferentiality of "his junior" and "Mr Brown."

41Nominal appositions function as figural identifications with a role, whether these appositions be derived from an evaluation originally external to the thinking self ("Arthur, Waldo's big dill brother" [294], "Arthur, stupid Arthur" [234]), ironically projected via exclamatory discourse ("As though her little boy Waldo would take for granted anything she might arrange for him with his big brother" [74]) or, most radically, as wishful projection of a desirable self in a quasi-schizoid frame which omits personal naming ("He admired the sound of her kind strong son" [166]). Instances of full naming ("Waldo Brown") in Waldo's section outnumber those in Arthur's section 8 to 3 (or, adjusted for text-length, 2. 7:1. 4). Arthur's awareness of self is located in an interpersonal "public" context: what is mediated by full naming is consciousness relativized and bounded by social ambience. It is Arthur's consciousness of himself as performing a social (not just a personal) duty that is paramount in the sentence "Arthur Brown visited them all through the two children and several miscarriages" (275). In the following example, the self is caught up in the machinery of public existence, formally and impersonally acted upon so that Arthur's self-image reflects the way in which he senses he is being viewed: "Arthur Brown was taken on by Mr Allwright about the time Waldo began at Barranugli High. Arthur Brown's apprenticeship was arranged quite quickly and easily" (232). This is also true where Arthur is immersed in a mass of public celebrators and is aware of that "non-personal" part of himself whose presence is all the mass demands), as in: "But many of them kissed Arthur Brown" (252); or "In the First War Arthur Brown had been all fireworks and singing" (280).

42In Waldo's case, full namings suggest acute self-consciousness rather than self-awareness. There are many instances of "Waldo Brown" in the actional-present (non-analeptic) narrative where his actions or situation vis-à-vis Arthur provoke in him a strong, controlling sense that there may be other people watching him/them. The full name similarly occurs when Waldo traverses public territory, particularly when roleplaying is involved, when he senses that a disruption of equilibrium may have made him look ridiculous, or when his actions are potentially exposable as moral transgression, as in his voyeurism. He may be entertaining an image of his public self which (he hopes) conceals a secret and private self, or may be aware projectively of the (luckily not eventuating) possibility that he might be publicly spotted. The enunciation of Waldo's beliefs, prejudices, prevarications and lovingly groomed fragments of philosophy — whether merely thought or actually expressed by him — tends to be attributed to a 'Waldo Brown" who sees himself as he would have others see him. This also extends to his consciousness of his personal appearance (e. g., when he borrows the diction of adult praise [127]) and of his role as Secret Writer (e. g., when the style hints lightly at the biographical mode [129, 173]). A kind of stunned iciness of consciousness may be mediated, the awareness of a self threatened by imminent scrutiny from without: this Self as Voyeur is the "Waldo Brown" who crosses the road to spy on his neighbour (61), imagines an old school-mate and his woman copulating (190), and peers through the window to find his father exposed in death (70). In this last instance, the personal self has been shocked into absence, and Waldo is flung centripetally away from emotional confrontation with the scene, fleeing first mentally then physically, before retreating even further behind his public persona's assertion of "facts." The threefold occurrence of "Waldo Brown" gives the last sheen of psychological polish to a masterfully mediated scene. Sometimes, more complex psychological effects may be suggested, as when "Waldo Brown" realizes that his female neighbour's nose reminds him of a penis (136): the image is "forbidden," and full-name reference hints at the shrinking of consciousness from the thought of What the Others Would Think If.... The past locus which provides the experiential basis for the forbidden identification (a clergyman's penis in a public lavatory) is also evoked, both as a formulated memory and via Waldo's imaginings of his public self standing in a public place.


43In the kinds of naming and gnomic utterance discussed here, we are as readers obliged to reconstitute character in line with the ways in which two central consciousnesses, Waldo and Arthur, constitute themselves. Naming-gradients and mental "citationalism" suggest the various degrees to which figural consciousness is able to empathize and selfdramatize. White has handed over referential authority, not to "a narrator of some kind, who impersonates the characters in the course of the relation of the history" (Docherty, 1983, 65-66), but to central characters who are made to impersonate the voice of conventional omniscient narrators. Ultimate generative authority, of course, rests with the author. White — like those novelists who avoid using names altogether and force the reader to generate character from pronominal references — is exploring the subjectivity of characters (and readers!) rather than the moral (etc.) status of strongly predetermined "selves." It is naming, more than any other feature of narrative discourse and style in White, that is most subject to misconstruction by readers attuned to conventional narrative voicings (and conventional accounts of these voicings, like Stanzel's), simply because the rhetorical overlap with these voicings is complete. It is (like gnomic statements) a technique recurrent enough in White's repertoire to mislead critics into detecting express and intrusive authority on his part when no such authority is functional in the text.

44Why should the syncretic illusion-making process of a "narrator imitating a character" exclude the possibility of a much greater challenge whereby an author relinquishes overlay in favour of sculpting from within a character; so that the narrational instance is that of a character's mental processes? The character is made to relinquish the formal markings of ego (first-person narration) and assume the burden of the chief grammatical medium of narration, which is the guise of an "external" third-person narrator. Any form of "imitation" of psychological inwardness is going to be artificial anyway, since cognitive and emotive states are pre-articulatory and verbally inaccessible (who has ever returned to confirm that stream of consciousness is really like that, or that, or that?). Contemporary physics has a "tunnelling" hypothesis, testable by laser, whereby particles can travel at three times the speed of light, arriving before they leave, as it were. This is supposed to be impossible, and undermines the causality of cosmogenesis. But if science finds it plausible, why not give a twist to our assumptions about the vector of FID? The light gleaming on the surface of a still life painting (to shift from the cosmic to the aesthetic) may fool the viewer into accepting a level of conventionality and mundanity that is belied by closer inspection of texture, composition, and relation. Much the same can surely apply to verbal narratives, whose dance of particles may be more sophisticated, contrary and in(tro)verted than at first meets the eye.

45This has been a false coda or dying fall, as I am still troubled by the suspicion that the absence of a snug fit between White's eminently explicable practice and the resources of narratological modelling might have a simpler, less impressionistic resolution in some straightforward datum about narrativity to which I am blind or have been blinded. In order to assert the primacy of figural presence, I have perforce opposed this presence fairly indiscriminately to terms such as "auctorial" and "the narrator." Maybe it would serve to naturalize White's procedure by espousing the Gordian-knot approach recently advocated by Richard Walsh (1997), who manages to banish the middle term of a "narrator" from the universe of discourse, leaving the author as a narrating subjective instance (for me, in White's case, a non-starter) on the one side and the character(s) on the other (which is okay by me). In a loose sense, I have used the terms "frame" and "pragmatic" to indicate that my construal of narrative markers is resolutely contextual and grounded in the cognitive patterns yielded by the density of particular fictional worlds and their human inhabitants. I have recently discovered to my comfort that Manfred Jahn has also attended to indexical features and to what I have called feature-"anomalies", including them among the "protean forms" (1997, 456, note 8) that he embraces as part of his project to "shake off the fatal exclusionary attraction of the so-called normal case" (452). Jahn's eminently level-headed inclusionary scheme is a continually adjustable, pragmatic one based on "frame theory." If an explanatory theoretical "frame" has been absent from my analytical lucubrations here, then it is most likely to be supplied by Jahn (who doesn't jettison the narrator, incidentally) or, in more desperate moments, by Walsh.


Works Cited

Primary sources

White, Patrick, (1966) 1969. The Solid Mandata. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

— (1957) 1960. Voss. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Secondary sources

Banfield, Ann, 1973. "Narrative Style and the Grammar of Direct and Indirect Speech." Foundations of Language, X, 1-39.

— 1982. Unspeakable Sentences: Narration and Representation in the Language of Fiction. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Bonheim, Helmut, 1982. The Narrative Modes: Techniques of the Short Story. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.

Bronzwaer, W.J.M., 1970. Tense in the Novel: An Investigation of Some Potentialities of Linguistic Criticism. Groningen: Wolters-Noordhoff.

Chatman, Seymour, 1972. The Later Style of Henry James. (Language and Style series, 11.) Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Cohn, Dorrit, 1978. Transparent Minds: Narrative Modes for Presenting Consciousness in Fiction. Princeton NJ: Princeton UP.

Collier, Gordon, 1992. The Rocks and Sticks of Words: Style, Discourse and Narrative Structure in the Fiction of Patrick White. (Cross/Cultures 5.) Amsterdam/Atlanta GA: Editions Rodopi.

Docherty, Thomas, 1983. Reading (Absent) Character: Towards a Theory of Characterization in Fiction. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Fehr, Bernhard, 1938. "Substitutionary Narration and Description: A Chapter in Stylistics," English Studies: A Journal of English Letters and Philology 20, 97-107.

Fludernik, Monika, 1993. The Fictions of Language and the Languages of Fiction: The Linguistic Representation of Speech and Consciousness. London & New York: Routledge.

— 1996. Towards a 'Natural' Narratology. London & New York: Routledge.

Greenbaum, Sidney, 1969. Studies in English Adverbial Usage. (Longmans'Linguistics Library.) London: Longmans.

Halliday, M.A.K., and Ruqaiya Hasan, 1976. Cohesion in English. (English Language series, 9.) London: Longman.

Heltay, Hilary, 1983. The Articles and the Novelist: Reference Conventions and Reader Manipulation in Patrick White's Creation of Fictional Worlds. (Studies and Texts in English, 4.) Tübingen: Gunter Narr.

Jahn, Manfred, 1997. "Frames, Preferences, and the Reading of Third-Person Narratives: Towards a Cognitive Narratology," Poetics Today, 18:4 (Winter), 441-468.

Lodge, David, 1984. "Mimesis and Diegesis in Modern Fiction." In: Anthony Mortimer (ed.), Contemporary Approaches to Narrative. (Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature, 1.) Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 89-108.

McHale, Brian, 1978. "Free Indirect Discourse: A Survey of Recent Accounts," PTL: A Journal for Descriptive Poetics and Theory of Literature, III, 249-287.

Pascal, Roy, 1977. The Dual Voice: Free Indirect Speech and its Functioning in the Nineteenth-Century European Novel. Manchester: Manchester UP/Totowa NJ: Rowman & Littlefield.

Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik, 1972. A Grammar of Contemporary English. London: Longman.

Stanzel, Franz K., 1982. Theorie des Erzählens. 2nd rev. ed. (UTB series 1155.) Munich: Wilhelm Fink. See also the English version, A Theory of Narrative, trans. Charlotte Goedsche. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989.

Walsh, Richard, 1997. "Who Is the Narrator?," Poetics Today, 18:4 (Winter), 495-513.


1 Cf. Quirk et al. (1972, 669, note [b]). Greenbaum (1969, 70-71) classifies so as an "illative" conjunct indicating "that what is being said is a consequence or result of what has been said before," but also points out that so can be "partly continuative, partly summative," or even "virtually weakened to sequential and." Cf. also Halliday/Hasan (1976, 240-241 and 256-257) on "the two planes of conjunctive relations, the external and the internal" which may coexist in conjunctions (additive, adversative, temporal or causal). The narrational shading of so that I am analyzing seems not to have been considered by Halliday/Hasan, though central to cohesion.


Co-General Editor of the book series Cross/Cultures: Readings in the Post/Colonial Literatures in English, and Caribbean editor of the journal Matatu. He teaches the New Literatures in English and post-colonial cultural studies at Justus-Liebig Universität Gieflen. He has edited US/THEM: Translation, Transcription and Identity in Post-Colonial Literary Cultures, and is the author of The Rocks and Sticks of Words: Style, Discourse and Narrative Structure in the Fiction of Patrick White as well as of articles on narratological issues, West Indian literature, and contemporary Australian and New Zealand film and fiction. He is currently editing the occasional journalism of Derek Walcott and researching the iconography of the mirror in Renaissance and Baroque art

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