Narrator's interventions in La Fontaine's "Fables"

Christina Alexopoulos, Fordham University


The present study focuses on the roles of the Narrator as he intervenes in La Fontaine's Fables. The opening chapter traces the history of Narratology and that of the fable, with a special emphasis on the narrative presence as it has been conceived traditionally by literary critics of the Fables and by La Fontaine himself. The second chapter deals with the functions or roles of the narrator, his distinction from the author, and the forms assumed by a narrative intervention as it confirms its presence in the Fables. The methodological considerations that led to our own definitions of the narrator's roles are also examined. The third chapter considers the existence of four narrator's roles within the Fables. Those are those of: Narrator-Host, Narrator-Judge, Narrator-Autobiographer, and Narrator-Author. The function of each of these four roles is analyzed as they apply to La Fontaine's work. The fourth chapter examines the pre or post-existence (or lack of it) of similar narrative roles in La Fontaine's predecessors (Aesop and Phaedrus), and in one of his successors (Florian). The fifth chapter quantitatively analyzes the different narrative roles and studies their occurrence and distribution in the Fables. To achieve this, statistical methods were used. The final two chapters (six and seven) focus on non-quantitative aspects of the narrative presence through an examination of "the mode of exposition" of the text ("telling versus showing," and "free indirect speech.") Three fables are finally analyzed in detail, in order to display how narrator's interventions function within the text.

Subject Area

Language|Romance literature

Recommended Citation

Alexopoulos, Christina, "Narrator's interventions in La Fontaine's "Fables"" (1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9313755.