Unspoken dialogues and non-listening listeners in Graham Swift's fiction

Title: Unspoken dialogues and non-listening listeners in Graham Swift's fiction
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2015, vol. 41, iss. 1, pp. [117]-129
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

Retrospection, first-person narration and a confessional mode are hallmarks of Graham Swift's fiction. The first-person narratives in Waterland and Tomorrow are constructed as forms of oral communication, even if they are narrated primarily or exclusively by the narrators to themselves. Yet each narrator invokes or conjures up a listener for whose sake the story-telling is undertaken, and, consequently, the stories have characteristics of oral deliverance. While Swift's characters believe in the importance of narration and confession as a form of self-understanding, they also intuit the necessity of having an audience. Hence, their interior monologues are carried out as if they were part of dialogues, addressed to listeners whose imagined presence and response shape the structure and content of the narrative. This paper examines the function of non-listening listeners in Swift's selected novels.
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