Key terms from Bal

In order to follow Bal’s discussion of sequential ordering in narrative, you have to know a little about her framework. I will explain this again in class on Monday, but in the meantime you need only one additional passage from her introduction:

A narrative text is a text in which an agent or subject conveys to an addressee (“tells” the reader) a story in a particular medium, such as language, imagery, sound, buildings, or a combination thereof. A story is the content of that text,and produces a particular manifestation, inflection, and “coloring” of a fabula; the fabula is presented in a certain manner. A fabula is a series of logically and chronologically related events that are caused or experienced by actors. (5)

Bal calls text, story, and fabula the three “layers” of narrative. Fabula, the chronological sequence of events, is distinct from story, the way these events are arranged by the narration. The pages from Bal that you are reading focus on some of the possibilities for the arrangement of story.

We will, as I say, cover all this ground in class. Focus on noticing everything you can about “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Blue Carbuncle.”

Author: AG

Associate Professor, Department of English, Rutgers University, New Brunswick