Speaking from experience: Narrative schemas, deixis, and authenticity effects in Verena Stefan's feminist confession Shedding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Confessional writing, such as Swiss feminist Verena Stefan's autobiographical novel Shedding (1977) (German: Häsignutungen, 1977[1975]), is often praised as being an expression of a particular individual's authentic voice. This readerly concept of authentic voice has been under-examined in contemporary and postmodern narrative theories, which have tended to emphasize the abstractness, the disembodiedness of voice. In this article I draw from Monika Fludernik's concept of narrative schemas and from theories of deixis in literature within cognitive poetics in order to develop a model by which to explain the authenticity effects attributed to Stefan's book and to other works of testimonial and confessional literature. Through an analysis of stylistic features related to different aspects of deixis, I illustrate how deictic shifts may encourage readers to pay more attention to certain narrative parameters over others within the framework of familiar narrative schemas, thereby creating a greater sense of immersivity in the text and consequently the effect of a narrative that is being experienced even as it is being told.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-23
Number of pages17
JournalLanguage and Literature
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 17 2009

Keywords

  • Authenticity
  • Autobiography
  • Deixis
  • German
  • Schema
  • Voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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