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Subjectivity-in-Dialogue: the Use of Epistolary Narrative in Contemporary Women’s Life Writing

Meskova, S.
The purpose of the research is analyzing models of epistolary narrative used in contemporary women's life writing on the example of texts by Latvian writer Margita Gutmane, Romanian author Irina Grigorescu Pana, and Canadian prose fiction writer Alice Munro. Methodology of the research is comparative analysis of narrative elements used in auto/biographical texts. The elements of the epistolary genre – letter, diary, personal notes, etc. – are used with the aim of creating the effect of authenticity and enhancing verisimilitude in text, thus epistolary narrative is of specific importance in auto/biographical texts and life writing. The present paper investigates the communicative aspect of epistolary narrative in life writing of Latvian poet Margita Gutmane, Romanian author and literary scholar Irina Grigorescu Pana, and Canadian prose fiction writer Alice Munro. The choice of the authors and their texts is based on an intention to discuss diverse models and goals of applying epistolary narrative in life writing. M.Gutmane’s “Vestules matei” (Letters to Mother, 1998) comprises a sequence ofletters produced in the autodiegetic narrator’s mind to her deceased mother. The text hasa complex communicative structure produced by a double figure of narrator/impliedauthor and narratee, and the implied reader. The multilayered structure ofcommunication between these figures enhances the psychologically dramatic process ofthe narrator’s self-exploration and triggers off a vast array of thematic issues, e.g. exile,home, language and foreign and native language, etc. I.G. Pana’s “Melbourne Sundays” (1998) is closer to authentic epistolary genre,produced as autodiegetic narrator’s letters to her sister who has remained in socialistRomania, while the narrator has emigrated to Australia and writes back home about herdaily life and impressions. In Pana’s text, the figures of narrator and narratee are moredetermined and the bond between them is an essential prerequisite of stable identity inthe situation of exile and bilingual communication. A.Munro applies epistolary discourse in a broad range, constructing the narrative asexchange of letters, including fragments of letters, and using meta-epistolarity or‘epistolary illusion’ (Rebekka Schuh’s term). The present paper regards the use ofepistolary elements in Munro’s short story collection “Too Much Happiness” (2009).
SGEM Research areas:
Type of Publication:
In Proceedings
narratology; life writing; Alice Munro; Irina G. Pana; narrator; narratee
SGEM Book title:
7th SWS International Scientific Conference on Arts And Humanities - ISCAH 2020
Book number:
SGEM Series:
SWS International Scientific Conferences on ART and HUMANITIES - ISCAH
Publisher address:
51 Al. Malinov blvd, Sofia, 1712, Bulgaria
SGEM supporters:
SWS Scholarly Society; Acad Sci Czech Republ; Latvian Acad Sci; Polish Acad Sci; Russian Acad Sci; Serbian Acad Sci & Arts; Natl Acad Sci Ukraine; Natl Acad Sci Armenia; Sci Council Japan; European Acad Sci, Arts & Letters; Acad Fine Arts Zagreb Croatia; C
26-27 October, 2020,
7th SWS International Scientific Conference on Arts And Humanities - ISCAH 2020, 26-27 October, 2020
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