Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The UnexpectedNarrative Temporality and the Philosophy of Surprise$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Mark Currie

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748676293

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676293.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Narrative Modality: Possibility, Probability and the Passage of Time

Narrative Modality: Possibility, Probability and the Passage of Time

Chapter:
(p.99) Chapter 6 Narrative Modality: Possibility, Probability and the Passage of Time
Source:
The Unexpected
Author(s):

Mark Currie

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676293.003.0007

This chapter takes a set of arguments about probability in grammar and argues for their importance for an understanding of narrative temporality. It examines the category of ‘epistemic modality’ in grammar, as the place where degrees of certainty and probability are encoded in the grammar of sentences, and applies this line of thought to the structure and nature of narrative discourse. After a consideration of the dynamics of narrative certainty and doubt, it explores the idea that literary criticism in general, and narratology in particular, show a marked tendency to eliminate questions of futurity. The discussion focuses on two meanings of the word ‘possibility’: the contingent and the futural. It shows that contemporary narratology operates often under the influence of possible worlds theory, and that this has produced an atemporal conception of modality in the theory of narrative.

Keywords:   Modality, grammar, retrospect, possible worlds, focalization

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.