Chapter published in:The Stylistics of Landscapes, the Landscapes of Stylistics
Edited by John Douthwaite, Daniela Francesca Virdis and Elisabetta Zurru
[Linguistic Approaches to Literature 28] 2017
► pp. 61–79
The blind tour
Spatial abstraction in experimental fiction
On the one hand, this chapter contributes to recent efforts in narrative theory which aim at specifying the cognitive and interpretive challenge of experimental fiction. On the other hand, it focuses on the unconventional textualisation of space in narrative. Drawing on stylistics and narrative theory, it analyses spatial abstraction as an effect of stylistic features in Orchis Militaris, an experimental narrative by Ivo Michiels. The motif of blindness is prominent in the novel and will be directly linked to the reader’s processing attempts. In that respect, it echoes the analogy of blindness used by Catherine Emmott (1997) to refer to the experience of a reader who is monitoring fictional contexts. The reader of Orchis Militaris is like a blind person, but one who is not provided with sufficient clues to construct the contextual configuration of the people and settings around him or her. Particular attention will be paid to the stylistic features of spatial abstraction, the cognitive demands made on readers and the interpretive opportunities emerging from their cognitive disorientation.
Published online: 07 December 2017
Alber, J., Iversen, S., Nielsen, H. S. & Richardson, B.
Bakhtin, M. M.
Duchan, J. F., Bruder, G. A. & Hewitt, L. E.
Emmott, C., Sanford, A. J. & Alexander, M.
2013 Rhetorical control of readers’ attention: Psychological and stylistic perspectives on foreground and background in narrative. In Stories and Minds: Cognitive Approaches to Literary Narrative, L. Bernaerts, D. De Geest, L. Herman & B. Vervaeck (eds.), 39–57. Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press.
Hogan, P. C.
Leech, G. & Short, M.
Ryan, M. -L.
2010 Space. In The Living Handbook Of Narratology, P. Hühn, J. Pier, W. Schmid & J. Schönert (eds). Hamburg: Hamburg University Press. http://hup.sub.uni-hamburg.de/lhn/index.php/Space> (15 April 2011).