Narrators and Narrating Characters: Voicing in Le Roman de Flamenca


In the thirteenth-century Old Occitan romance Le Roman de Flamenca (Flamenca), the narrator’s function is complicated when a number of characters (whom I call narrating characters) appropriate the narratorial role by disrupting and manipulating the text using very specific literary techniques. The characters disseminate the plot, address moral issues, dramatize digressions, create imaginary dramatic scenarios, predict events, and address the audience directly. On a number of occasions, these narrating characters act “out of character,” appropriate the authorial voice (and its attendant authority) and add their own subjectivities. Based on the mirroring that occurs between the narrator and the narrating characters, we should consider Flamenca as a multi-narratorial text and treat the narrator as an important character rather than privilege him as representing the authorial voice.

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I would like to thank Linda M. Paterson, Douglas Kelly, Donald W. Rowe, Sherry L. Reames, and Nick Doane for their valuable comments.

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Correspondence to Karen A. Grossweiner.

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Grossweiner, K.A. Narrators and Narrating Characters: Voicing in Le Roman de Flamenca . Neophilologus 92, 395–408 (2008).

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  • Occitan literature
  • 400-1499 Medieval period
  • Flamenca
  • narrative voice