Narrative theory: a shift towards reader’s response

Javad Momeni and Bahareh Jalali Farahani

Narratology has developed from its early outset as a mere scientific study of texts to the modern version with its wide-ranging reading of narratives in the realm of literature and in daily life. The excessive attention of formalist narratologists’s to the hidden governing system of a work was intensified by the theory’s new dependence on Structuralism and its pursuing the underlying semiotic system of works as the determiner of the meaning. Yet, the rebirth of narrative theory is indebted to postclassical narratologists who recognized the fact that this is reading which shapes the text. Moreover, the inception of ideological analysis was sparked by Booth’s concept of “implied author” which assesses both the audience’s responses and the implied ideologies of the texts. Thus, Narrative theory involved an ideological approach by conceding that there is a design behind texts that affects readers in a particular way, and that can be found through the words, techniques, and the intertextuality of the work by getting help in this process from readers’ responses. Such rhetorically-oriented approach allows readers’ ideological mindsets to form their readings and leads to the openness of reader-response criticism for the new wave of Narrative theory.

Download PDF: