Multi-Teller and Multi-Voiced Stories: The Poetics and Politics of Pronouns

  • Marina Grishakova


This chapter explores the poetics (narrative functions) and ‘politics’ (alignment with cultural and social contexts) of pronouns in polyvocal narration. It introduces the important referential capacity of pronouns and their role in developmental cognition, everyday discourse, and narrative world-making, considers the ways in which fiction exploits the referentiality of pronouns and offers an analysis of a specific mode of polyvocal narration called liminal deixis.

Pronouns facilitate retrieval and revision of referential frames in the process of reading and their assimilation to reader’s own experiential world. Rather than being merely a manifestation of playfulness and experimentation, polyvocal narration is loaded with various cognitive and exploratory tasks. It problematises essentialist conceptions of identity and authority, challenges various types of totalising thought and reveals tensions between the group and individual thinking.


Deixis Deictic Shifter Symbolic (semiotic) function Cataphora Polyvocal narration Liminal deixis Experimental fiction Postcolonial fiction Feminist fiction Metafiction 



Research for this chapter was supported by the Estonian Research Council (Grants 192 and 1481) and by the European Union Regional Development Fund (Center of Excellence in Estonian Studies).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina Grishakova
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Comparative LiteratureUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia

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