Framing devices

Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk
Thu Apr 3 07:29:43 EST 2003





Charlie, quoting me:

>> I like the idea of a framing narrative with an incomplete frame.
>
> Fair enough, as long as it's not the result of the writer's incompetence!

Ah, but how do you know whether this is the case?

> And, obDWJ, some of the books
> I like best do their best to break down the cordon sanitaire that lies
> between fictional narratives and the narrative that is Life Itself.

I associate this with Tom Stoppard.  I wonder why ;-)  I suppose Hexwood does
some of the same things.

> Incomplete frames can be one way to do it, I suppose.

In Fire and Hemlock, the framing narrative (Polly aged 19) and the main story
(Polly's childhood memories) come together very nicely, with the sort of effect
you describe.  Is this what you had in mind?

>> Another book I read I found very annoying for a different reason.
>> (Unfortunately I can't remember the title, but it was an Arthurian
>> setting.)  The framing narrative is in the present tense, while the
>> main (as I thought) narrative is in the past.  About two thirds of
>> the way through the book, the character narrating the inner story
>> loses the urge to transmit the events of the book to posterity, and
>> we are returned to the present tense framing narrative for the rest
>> of the novel.
>
> Is this Crossley-Holland's _Arthur: The Seeing Stone_? It's been waiting to
> be read on my shelves for last 9 months, so I'm not sure, but I do know it
> switches between narrative viewpoints.

I doubt it.  I don't recall ever encountering Crossley-Holland.

It may have been "The Dragon and the Unicorn" - but I still can't remember the
author.

> On another list, someone recently asked for examples of present tense
> narratives that weren't written in the first person. All I could think of
> was Jill Paton Walsh's pair of novels _Goldengrove_ and _Unleaving_.
> (Marvellous books both, but I suspect they would have been just as good in
> the imperfect.) Any advance on these?

Well, The Dragon and the Unicorn counts, if it's the book I'm thinking of.

Barry Malzberg did a present tense meta-narrative.  Not a framing narrative, but
he occasionally stepped back from the story to discourse on how one might go
about filming it.  These digressions were all in the present tense ("The camera
closes in on {character}'s face" and things like that).  Can't remember the
book, except that it was one of two by Malzberg that I got, read, disliked, and
disposed of a few years ago.  Could have been "The Men Inside".

>> East Midlands Electricity Distribution plc,
> Philip farms power! We already have a list-Konstam, so how about a
> list-Archer?

ROFL!

I wouldn't have chosen to be Archer (I'd have preferred to farm music), but I've
no objection!

Philip.







___________________________ Disclaimer Notice __________________________
This message and any attachments are confidential and should only be read
by those to whom they are addressed. If you are not the intended recipient,
please contact us, delete the message from your computer and destroy any 
copies. Any distribution or copying without our prior permission is 
prohibited.

Internet communications are not always secure and therefore the Powergen 
Group does not accept legal responsibility for this message. The recipient 
is responsible for verifying its authenticity before acting on the
contents. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author 
and do not necessarily represent those of the Powergen Group.

Registered address:

East Midlands Electricity Distribution plc,
Westwood Way, Westwood Business Park, Coventry, CV4 8LG
Registered in England & Wales No. 2366923.
--
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at suberic.net with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at http://suberic.net/dwj/list/



More information about the Dwj mailing list