NABOKV-L post 0001164, Fri, 28 Jun 1996 11:24:43 -0700

unreliable narrators

1. The vigorous set of responses re "unreliable narrators" (henceforth
"UR") suggests a couple of things. One is that even such literary
supersophisticates as NABOKV-L subscribers understand the term in very
different ways. For those who are especially interested in the UR device
in Nabokov (where it is certainly central) I suggest Pekka Tammi's
_Problems of Nabokov's Poetics: A Narratological Analysis_ (Helsinki,
1985) which is by far the best examination of the problem.

2. The flurry of interest in the topic prompted me to a vagrant thought.
How might the UR technique be handled on the stage? Offhand, it strikes
me as being especially hard to handle. I know very little about the theory
of drama and there are doubtless treatises on the UR in drama. My memory
of VN's play "The Waltz Invention" is hazy but I wonder if this might be a
place to start examining the question.

D. Barton Johnson
Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies
Phelps Hall
University of California at Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone and Fax: (805) 687-1825
Home Phone: (805) 682-4618