978-1-4985-8682-5 • Hardback • March 2019 • $111.00 • (£85.00)
978-1-4985-8683-2 • eBook • March 2019 • $99.50 • (£77.00)
Matei Chihaia is professor of French and Spanish literature at the University of Wuppertal.
Katharina Rennhak is professor of English literature at the University of Wuppertal.
Introduction: The Dialectics of Relevance and Narrative Research
Matei Chihaia and Katharina Rennhak
Part 1. The Politics of Narrative Relevance
Chapter 1. The (Ir)Relevance of Narratology
Susan S. Lanser
Chapter 2. Disciplining Relevance: On Manifest and Latent Functions of Narratives
Part 2. The Logic of Narrative Relevance
Chapter 3. Relevant Logics, Counterfactual Worlds, and the Understanding of Narrative
Chapter 4. Relevance Theory and Literary Studies—and Some Thoughts on Paul Torday’s The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce
Chapter 5. Communication, Life, and Dangerous Things: On Relevance and Tellability in Pictures
Part 3. The Relativity of Relevance
Chapter 6. The Relevance of Irrelevance in Mimetic Narratives: Guess What…
Chapter 7. Narrating Random Probes: The Ideal of “Slice-of-Life”
Part 4. (Ir)Relevance and Narrative Genres
Chapter 8. Relevance Theory in Contemporary Narratology: Processing Meaning from Narrative Texts
Chapter 9. “Less is More”: Narrative Strategies of Reduction and the Construct of (Ir)Relevance in the Works of Three French Minimalist Authors
Chapter 10. The Relevance of Narrative Theory for the Study of Short Fiction: The Case of First-Person Present-Tense Narration
About the Editors
About the Contributors
Based on the premise that relevance—as a relational concept—is intrinsically embedded in narrative, this poignant, in-depth inquiry examines social, cultural, and institutional constructions of relevance using the tools of narrative theory. In a complementary meta-theoretical gesture, contributors to the volume apply, challengingly, the notion of relevance to narratology itself. A most timely and, dare I say, relevant study.
— Ondřej Pilný, Charles University
Reflecting critically upon the established sociological and linguistic theories of relevance and at the same time overcoming their limitations, this book is a rigorous and enlightening examination of how narration and narrative procedures determine the conceptual conventions of the reader on the creation and success of the accepted notions of relevance. In addition to an extensive and lucid introduction on the current state of relevance studies by the book's editors, the volume features an outstanding selection of essays by a host of international scholars from Europe, and the United States. The scope of the volume is conceptually and thematically wide-ranging and its essays focus on a plethora of diverse and complementary texts that span from the Romantic novel to Naturalism, contemporary short fiction, and French Minimalist narratives. This book convincingly demonstrates that the dialogue and mutual interchange between narratology and the theories of relevance can be an effective tool to reinforce the transformative power of narratives and to assert the epistemological and ethical goals of humanistic studies in an age dominated by the constraints and insufficiencies of the technological discourse and worldview.
— Gonzalo Navajas, University of California, Irvine
This is an excellent collection on a timely topic, edited by two leaders in the field, and gathering an impressive number of original contributions from leading researchers.
— Edward Kanterian, University of Kent
Talk of relevance is ubiquitous in the humanities these days, but rarely is there a reflection on what it means to be relevant. This volume therefore answers a real need. Its interdisciplinary contributions make a compelling case for the close connection between narrative (research) and relevance (theory).
— Michael Butter, University of Tübingen