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The Narratological Analysis of Lyric Poetry

Studies in English Poetry from the 16th to the 20th Century

Series: Narratologia, 7
Translated by: Alastair Matthews
This study offers a fresh approach to the theory and practice of poetry criticism from a narratological perspective. Arguing that lyric poems share basic constituents of narration with prose fiction, namely temporal sequentiality of events and verbal mediation, the authors propose the transgeneric application of narratology to the poetic genre with the aim of utilizing the sophisticated framework of narratological categories for a more precise and complex modeling of the poetic text. On this basis, the study provides a new impetus to the neglected field of poetic theory as well as to methodology. The practical value of such an approach is then demonstrated by detailed model analyses of canonical English poems from all major periods between the 16th and the 20th centuries. The comparative discussion of these analyses draws general conclusions about the specifics of narrative structures in lyric poetry in contrast to prose fiction.

Author Information

Peter Hühn is Professor of English Literature at Hamburg University and member of the Research Group Narratology, Hamburg, Germany. Jens Kiefer is associate member of the Research Group Narratology, Hamburg, Germany.


"Der Band von Hühn und Kiefer ist zum einen jedem wärmstens zu empfehlen, der an Lyriktheorie und an narratologischen Ansätzen interessiert ist. Zum anderen lässt die starke Ausrichtung auf die Analyse von Beispieltexten den Band aber auch als Arbeitsbuch für einführende Lyrikseminare geeignet erscheinen."Marion Gymnich in: KULT_online 11/2006
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