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The Theory and Interpretation of Narrative Series

Breaking the Frame:

Metalepsis and the Construction of the Subject

Debra Malina

The Ohio State University Press Columbus

Copyright 2002 by The Ohio State University. All rights reserved. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Malina, Debra, 1961 Breaking the frame: metalepsis and the construction of the subject / Debra Malina. p. cm.(The Theory and Interpretation ofNarrative Series) Includes index. ISBN 0-8142-0896-7 (cloth : alk. paper) 1. Narration (Rhetoric) 2. Deconstruction. I. Title. II. Series PN3383.N35 M35 2002 808--dc21 2001007376 Cover design by Dan ODair. Printed by Thomson-Shore, Inc. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information SciencesPermanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials. ANSI Z39.48-1992. 987654321

For Bill and Sula

Acknowledgments ix List of Abbreviations xi

Introduction Narrative Breakthroughs: Metalepsis and the Construction of the Subject Chapter One The hope of not making me: Samuel Beckett and the Construction Compulsion Chapter Two Sometimes you vanish into a linguistic edifice you have erected: Christine Brooke-Rose and the Postmodern Condition Chapter Three All the women will have wings: Angela Carter and the Construction of the Feminist Subject Coda: Toward a Deconstructive Narratology



97 132

Notes 145 Bibliography 169 Index 177

I am indebted to James Phelan and Peter Rabinowitz, the editors of the Theory and Interpretation of Narrative Series, not only for seeing the potential of my original manuscript but for raising the substantial and interesting questions that challenged me to push my theory a step or two further and guided me as I went about shaping the final version. They were engaged, incisive, and, perhaps most important, patient. The potential they saw would not have been visible had it not been for the earlier guidance and care provided by Robin Lydenberg, Anne Fleche, and Kristin Morrison at Boston College. Always exacting, they were also devoted to the processes of thinking, writing, and rewriting, as well as to the ultimate success of the project. Their friendship throughout and beyond my career as a graduate student was as important to me and to this book as their tireless and insightful tutelage. I am also grateful to Rosemarie Bodenheimer, Robert Chibka, and Andrew Von Hendy for their support of and interest in my work at B.C., to my colleagues John Anderson and Kathryn Kunkel for offering emotional and intellectual support as well as levity, and to my friend and long-time mentor Michael Cavanagh for getting me started and inspiring me to keep going. The students in my postmodern fiction course in the fall of 1997 led me, by way of their frustration, to a better understanding of postmodernism than I could have arrived at any other way. The students in my Beckett course in the spring of 2000 were an inspiration; their open-minded, intelligent communal grappling with Beckett enabled me to revise my manuscript with refreshed excitement. My mother, Anita Borcia Horn, taught me the importance of narrative; my father, Bernard Malina, taught me the beauty of systematic analysis. Both gave me ongoing encouragement even in the face of ever-increasing esotericism. This book would never have been possible without the care, love, patience, and tolerance of my husband, Bill O'Donnell, and my daughter, Sula O'Donnell Malina. Bill listened intelligently and actively to endless


hours of dense prose that he would never otherwise have chosen to read, and he has supported me and my work in every conceivable way. And Sula, who was born with a strong grasp of the narrative nature of life, has added immeasurably to my understanding of the endlessly delightful and amazing formation of the subject. Thrillingly, she has learned to read even the big words in plenty of time to partake of this book if she chooses to do so.

List of Abbreviations
Narrative Terms
D diegetic DR diegetic reader ED extradiegetic EDR extradiegetic reader ET extratextual ETR extratextual reader HD hypodiegetic HDR hypodiegetic reader H2D hypo-hypodiegetic H3D hypo-hypo-hypodiegetic hypodiegetic to infinity HnD

Works of Samuel Beckett

Cas Cascando Co Company HII How It Is TU The Unnamable W Watt WH Worstward Ho SS Stirrings Still

Works of Christine Brooke-Rose

A Amalgamemnon B Between O Out RU The Rhetoric of the Unreal STT Stories, Theories and Things Te Textermination Th Thru


list of abbrEViations

Works of Angela Carter

DH The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman L Love LP The Loves of Lady Purple MT The Magic Toyshop NC Nights at the Circus PNE The Passion of New Eve SD Shadow Dance WC Wise Children