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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54503
Doc. No:TL24457
Call number:‭3217870‬
Main Entry:Dara Horn Schulman
Title & Author:“Morals of the story” and narrative demand: A study in Yiddish and Hebrew literatureDara Horn Schulman
College:Harvard University
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:266
Abstract:This dissertation introduces a new literary term, "narrative demand," defined as the internal structure of values or beliefs that makes plot possible in works of fiction, and examines its workings in a sample of texts from the modern Yiddish and Hebrew literary canons. In Aspects of the Novel, E.M. Forster observes that the sentence "The king died, then the queen died" does not have a plot, while the sentence "The king died, then the queen died of grief" does. Forster claims that the second sentence provides a causative connection between the events, and that this causative connection creates plot in works of fiction. This dissertation, however, claims otherwise: in Forster's example, there is no causative connection between the events, except in the beliefs of the storyteller. In order to construct the story "The king died, then the queen died of grief," one must believe that one person could mean so much to another that she could not live without him. This dissertation argues that the plots of all literary narratives are only possible because of an armature of beliefs, which is herein termed narrative demand. The context for this investigation is a set of works by Yiddish and Hebrew writers (1890s-1920s) who were crucial to the development of modern secular literature in these languages. This dissertation examines how these writers used plot structures to present competing values, challenging the beliefs of their readers. It progresses from works with apparently simple plots (I.L. Peretz's folk-style stories) to lyrical works whose plots appear de-emphasized (H.N. Bialik's prose poem Scroll of Fire, Moyshe Kulbak's prose poem Messiah, Son of Ephraim) to novels that appear "plotless" (J.H. Brenner's Beside the Point, Dovid Bergelson's Descent) to stories featuring excessive plots (Der Nister's symbolist stories), demonstrating how each genre exhibits narrative demand, or the rhetorical motivations which make plot possible. Building upon methodologies from modern narratology and earlier theories of rhetoric, this dissertation juxtaposes these previously distinct approaches in order to prove that an intrinsic connection exists between narrative and rhetoric, and that the very act of telling a story is inherently a belief-driven enterprise.
Subject:Language, literature and linguistics; Hebrew literature; Jewish literature; Narrative theory; Yiddish literature; Comparative literature; Slavic literature; Middle Eastern literature; 0314:Slavic literature; 0295:Comparative literature; 0315:Middle Eastern literature
Added Entry:R. R. Wisse
Added Entry:Harvard University