Film and narration: Two versions of lolita

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

As Wayne Booth points out in The Rhetoric of Fiction (1983), we react to narrators as we do to persons, finding them likeable or repulsive, wise or foolish, fair or unfair. Narrators vary widely on a broad spectrum, not only in terms of likeability but also in terms of reliability. Some are honest brokers, while others are pathological liars. On a scale of trustworthiness, narrators range from those who are almost completely suspect (such as Jason Compson in The Sound and the Fury [1929]) to those who are more or less reliable (Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby [1925], Bras Cubas in Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas [1880]) to those who serve as dramatized spokespersons for the implied author and whose values conform to the norms of the text (Joseph Conrad's Marlow in Heart of Darkness [1902]). What interests me here is a particular kind of narration, to wit unreliable narration. The modern period has been especially fond of 1) changing narrators and 2) unreliable narrators. Changing narrators alter their discourse and ideas as they narrate; they mutate before our eyes. This trait is especially true of the Bildungsroman or novel of development (for example, Great Expectations [1851]); part of the plot, in such novels, is not just what happens but how the narrator changes as a result of what happens, for example when Pip learns about the true source of his fortune.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTwentieth-Century American Fiction on Screen
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages111-131
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780511610950
ISBN (Print)0521542308, 9780521834445
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

Fingerprint

Narration
Narrator
Lolita
Novel
Trustworthiness
Rhetoric
Unreliable Narrator
Broker
Bildungsroman
Fortune
Modern Period
The Sound and the Fury
The Great Gatsby
Joseph Conrad
Fiction
Implied Author
Heart of Darkness
Wit
Memoir
Person

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Stam, R. (2007). Film and narration: Two versions of lolita. In Twentieth-Century American Fiction on Screen (pp. 111-131). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511610950.008

Film and narration : Two versions of lolita. / Stam, Robert.

Twentieth-Century American Fiction on Screen. Cambridge University Press, 2007. p. 111-131.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Stam, R 2007, Film and narration: Two versions of lolita. in Twentieth-Century American Fiction on Screen. Cambridge University Press, pp. 111-131. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511610950.008
Stam R. Film and narration: Two versions of lolita. In Twentieth-Century American Fiction on Screen. Cambridge University Press. 2007. p. 111-131 https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511610950.008
Stam, Robert. / Film and narration : Two versions of lolita. Twentieth-Century American Fiction on Screen. Cambridge University Press, 2007. pp. 111-131
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