Anticipation and Narratology

  • Genevieve LiveleyEmail author
Living reference work entry


In one of the first analyses of its kind, this chapter examines how the tools and heuristics of narratology (the study of narrative) might enhance the study of anticipation. It assesses whether narratological insights into the ways in which stories narrate and readers read might enable us to tell better stories about the future and at the same time to become better readers of the possible worlds that such stories anticipate. Investigating the theory and praxis of anticipation across a broad temporal range of possible (fictional) and actual (real) world models and narratives (from antiquity to postmodernity), it scopes some of the pitfalls and possibilities opened up by treating the future as “storied.” It engages with the latest studies on cognitive narratology, possible world’s theories, and so-called future narratives, examining anticipatory narratives particularly relating to the environment and to the self. It argues that the stories we tell about the future, including our future selves, must be open, multi-linear, and multidimensional in order to avoid anticipatory backshadowing, which forecasts the future as a continuation of the past and present.


Backshadowing Character Chronocentrism Chronotope Climate change Cognition Counterfactual Future narratives Identity Narrative Narratology Possible worlds Postmodernism Preshadowing Prolepsis Reading Scenario Utopia 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BristolBristolUK

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