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Introduction to the Study of the Narratee


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Introduction to the Study of the Narratee


In this seminal article, Gerald Prince, following Genette, draws attention to the figure of the nartatee, the narrator's addressee, which, he contends, is a strangely neglected although essential element of all types of narrative. The narratee as defined by Genette and Prince should not be confused with either the actual or the implied reader, since neither of these need be the immediate addressee of the narrator. Prince's proposal is threefold. First, to elaborate a typology of narratees, according to the kind of 'signals' portraying the narratee that appear in the text. This typology is generated by a comparison with the ideal notion of 'zero-degree narratee'. Secondly, to classify narratees according to their narrative situation, that is, according to their position with reference to the narrator, the characters and the narration. Thirdly, to define and enumerate the narratee's functions, from the most obvious one as mediator between narrator and reader to such others as contributing to the definition of the personality and reliability of the narrator, of the moral or ideological position of the work, and so on.

Gerald Prince's other contributions to narratology are mainly concerned with devising formalized models for the representation of action, for instance in A Grammar of Stories: An Introduction ( 1973) and Narratology: The Form and Functioning of Narrative ( 1982).

All narration, whether it is oral or written, whether it recounts real or mythical events, whether it tells a story or relates a simple sequence of actions in time, presupposes not only (at least) one narrator but also (at least) one narratee, the narratee being someone whom the narrator addresses. In a fiction-narration -- a tale, an epic, a novel -- the narrator is a fictive creation as is his narratee. JeanBaptiste Clamence, Holden Caulfield, and the narrator of Madame Bovary are novelistic constructs as are the individuals to whom they write. From Henry James and Norman Friedman to Wayne C. Booth and Tzvetan Todorov, numerous critics have examined the diverse manifestations of the narrator in fictive prose and verse, his multiple roles and his importance. 1 By contrast, few critics have dealt with the narratee and none to date has undertaken an in-depth study; 2 this neglect persists despite the lively interest raised by Benveniste's fine articles on discourse (le discours), Jakobson's work on linguistic functions, and the evergrowing prestige of poetics and semiology.

Nowadays, any student minimally versed in the narrative genre differentiates the narrator of a novel from its author and from the novelistic alter ego of the author and knows the difference between Marcel and Proust, Rieux and Camus, Tristram Shandy, Sterne the novelist, and Sterne the man. Most critics, however, are scarcely concerned with the notion of the narratee and often confuse it with the more or less adjacent notions of receptor (ricepteur), reader, and arch-reader (archilecteur).

The zero-degree narratee

In the very first pages of Le Père Goriot, the narrator exclaims: That's what you will do, you who hold this book with a white hand, you who settle back in a well-padded armchair saying to yourself: perhaps this is going to be amusing. After reading about old Goriot's secret misfortunes, you'll dine with a good appetite attributing your insensitivity to the author whom you'll accuse of exaggeration and poetic affectation.' This 'you' with white hands, accused by the narrator of being egotistical and callous, is the narratee. It's obvious that the latter does not resemble most readers of Le Père Goriot and that consequently the narratee of a novel cannot be automatically identified with the reader: the reader's hands might be black or red and not white; he might read the novel in bed instead of in an armchair; he might lose his appetite upon learning of the old merchant's unhappiness. The reader of a fiction, be it in prose or in verse, should not be mistaken for the narratee. The one is real, the other fictive. If it should occur that the reader bears an astonishing resemblance to the narratee, this is an exception and not the rule.

Neither should the narratee be confused with the virtual reader. Every author, provided he is writing for someone other than himself, develops his narrative as a function of a certain type of reader whom he bestows with certain qualities, faculties, and inclinations according to his opinion of men in general (or in particular) and according to the obligations he feels should be respected. This virtual reader is different from the real reader: writers frequently have a public they don't deserve. He is also distinct from the narratee. In La Chute, Clamence's narratee is not identical to the reader envisioned by Camus: after all, he's a lawyer visiting Amsterdam. It goes without saying that a virtual reader and a narratee can be alike, but once again it would be an exception.

Finally, we should not confuse the narratee with the ideal reader, although a remarkable likeness can exist between the two. For a writer, an ideal reader would be one who would understand perfectly and would approve entirely the least of his words, the most subtle of his intentions. For a critic, an ideal reader would perhaps be one capable of interpreting the infinity of texts that, according to certain critics, can be found in one specific text. On the one hand, the narratees for whom the narrator multiplies his explanations and justifies the particularities of his narrative are numerous and cannot be thought of as constituting the ideal readers dreamed up by a novelist. We need only think of the narratees of Le Père Goriot and Vanity Fair. On the other hand, these narratees are too inept to be capable of interpreting even a rather restricted group of texts with the text.

If narratees are distinct from real, virtual, or ideal readers, 3 they very often differ from each other as well. Nonetheless, it should be possible to describe each one of them as a function of the same categories and according to the same models. It is necessary to identify at least some of these characteristics as well as some of the ways in which they vary and combine with each other. These characteristics must be situated with reference to a sort of 'zerodegree' narratee, a concept which it is now time to define.

In the first place, the zero-degree narratee knows the tongue (langue) and the language(s) (langage[s]) of the narrator. In his case, to know a tongue is to know the meanings (dénotations) -- the signifieds as such and, if applicable, the referents -- of all the signs that constitute it; this does not include knowledge of the connotations (the subjective values that have been attached to them). It also involves a perfect mastery of grammar but not of the (infinite) paragrammatical possibilities. It is the ability to note semantic and/or syntactic ambiguities and to be able to resolve these difficulties from the context. It is the capacity to recognize the grammatical incorrectness or oddness of any sentence or syntagm -- by reference to the linguistic system being used. 4

Beyond this knowledge of language, the zero-degree narratee has certain faculties of reasoning that are often only the corollaries of this knowledge. Given a sentence or a series of sentences, he is able to grasp the presuppositions and the consequences. 5 The zero-degree narratee knows narrative grammar, the rules by which any story is elaborated. 6 He knows, for example, that a minimal complete narrative sequence consists in the passage from a given situation to the inverse situation. He knows that the narrative possesses a temporal dimension and that it necessitates relations of causality. Finally, the zero-degree narratee possesses a sure memory, at least in regard to the events of the narrative about which he has been informed and the consequences that can be drawn from them.

Thus, he does not lack positive characteristics. But he also does not want negative traits. He can thus only follow a narrative in a welldefined and concrete way and is obliged to acquaint himself with the events by reading from the first page to the last, from the initial word to the final word. In addition, he is without any personality or social characteristics. He is neither good nor bad, pessimistic nor optimistic, revolutionary nor bourgeois, and his character, his position in society, never colors his perception of the events described to him. Moreover, he knows absolutely nothing about the events or characters mentioned and he is not acquainted with the conventions prevailing in that world or in any other world. Just as he doesn't understand the connotations of a certain turn of phrase, he doesn't realize what can be evoked by this or that situation, this or that novelistic action. The consequences of this are very important. Without the assistance of the narrator, without his explanations and the information supplied by him, the narratee is able neither to interpret the value of an action nor to grasp its repercussions. He is incapable of determining the morality or immorality of a character, the realism or extravagance of a description, the merits of a rejoinder, the satirical intention of a tirade. And how would he be able to do so? By virtue of what experience, what knowledge, or what system of values?

More particularly, a notion as fundamental as verisimilitude only counts very slightly for him. Indeed, verisimilitude is always defined in relation to another text, whether this text be public opinion, the rules of a literary genre, or 'reality.' The zero-degree narratee, however, is acquainted with no texts and in the absence of commentary, the adventures of Don Quixote would seem as ordinary to him as those of Passemurailles (an individual capable of walking through walls) or of the protagonists of Une Belle Journée. 7 The same would hold true for relations of implicit causality. [. . . ] The narratee with no experience and no common sense does not perceive relations of implicit causality and does not fall victim to this confusion. Finally, the zero-degree narratee does not organize the narrative as a function of the major codes of reading studied by Roland Barthes in S/Z. He doesn't know how to unscramble the different voices that shape the narration. After all, as Barthes has said: 'The code is a convergence of quotations, a structural mirage . . . the resulting units . . . made up of fragments of this something which always has already been read, seen, done, lived: the code is the groove of this already. Referring back to what has been written, that is, to the Book (of culture, of life, of life as culture), the code makes the text a prospectus of this Book.' 8 For the zero-degree narratee, there is no already, there is no Book.

The signals of the narratee

Every narratee possesses the characteristics that we have enumerated except when an indication to the contrary is supplied in the narration intended for him: he knows, for example, the language employed by the narrator, he is gifted with an excellent memory, he is unfamiliar with everything concerning the characters who are presented to him. It is not rare that a narrative might deny or contradict these characteristics: a certain passage might underline the language-related difficulties of the narratee, another passage might disclose that he suffers from amnesia, yet another passage might emphasize his knowledge of the problems being discussed. It is on the basis of these deviations from the characteristics of the zero-degree narratee that the portrait of a specific narratee is gradually constituted.

Certain indications supplied by the text concerning a narratee are sometimes found in a section of the narrative that is not addressed to him. [. . . ] At the beginning of L'Immoraliste, for example, we learn that Michel has not seen his narratees for three years and the story he tells them quickly confirms this fact. Nonetheless, sometimes these indications contradict the narrative and emphasize certain differences between the narratee as conceived by the narrator and as revealed by another voice. The few words spoken by Doctor Spielvogel at the end of Portnoy's Complaint reveal that he is not what the narrative has led us to believe. 9

Nevertheless, the portrait of a narratee emerges above all from the narrative addressed to him. If we consider that any narration is composed of a series of signals directed to the narratee, two major categories of signals can be distinguished. On the one hand there are those signals that contain no reference to the narratee or, more precisely, no reference differentiating him from the zero-degree narratee. On the other hand, there are those signals that, on the contrary, define him as a specific narratee and make him deviate from the established norms. In Un Coeur simple a sentence such as [. . . ] 'His entire person produced in her that confusion into which we are all thrown by the spectacle of extraordinary men' not only records the reactions of the heroine in the presence of M. Bourais, but also informs us that the narratee has experienced the same feelings in the presence of extraordinary individuals.

The signals capable of portraying the narratee are quite varied and one can easily distinguish several types that are worth discussing. In the first place, we should mention all passages of a narrative in which the narrator refers directly to the narratee. We retain in this category statements in which the narrator designates the narratee by such words as 'reader' or 'listener' and by such expressions as 'my dear' or 'my friend.' In the event that the narration may have identified a specific characteristic of the narratee, for example, his profession or nationality, passages mentioning this characteristic should also be considered in this first category. Thus, if the narrator is a lawyer, all information concerning lawyers in general is pertinent. Finally, we should retain all passages in which the addressee is designated by second-person pronouns and verb forms.

Besides those passages referring quite explicitly to the narratee, there are passages that, although not written in the second person, imply a narratee and describe him. When Marcel in A la recherche du temps perdu [. . . ] declares: 'Undoubtedly, in these coincidences which are so perfect, when reality withdraws and applies itself to what we have dreamt about for so long a time, it hides it from us entirely,' the 'we' includes the narratee. 10 [. . . ]

Then again, there are often numerous passages in a narrative that, though they contain apparently no reference -- even an ambiguous one -- to a narratee, describe him in greater or lesser detail. Accordingly, certain parts of a narrative may be presented in the form of questions or pseudo-questions. Sometimes these questions originate neither with a character nor with the narrator who merely repeats them. These questions must then be attributed to the narratee and we should note what excites his curiosity, the kinds of problems he would like to resolve. In Le Père Goriot, for example, it is the narratee who makes inquiries about the career of M. Poiret: 'What had he been? But perhaps he had been employed at the Ministry of Justice . . .' Sometimes, however, the narrator addresses questions to the narratee himself, some of whose knowledge and defenses are thus revealed in the process. Marcel will address a pseudo-question to his narratee asking him to explain the slightly vulgar, and for that reason surprising, behavior of Swann: 'But who has not seen unaffected royal princesses . . . spontaneously adopt the language of old bores?. . .'

Other passages are presented in the form of negations. The narrator of Les Faux-Monnayeurs vigorously rejects the theory advanced by the narratee to explain Vincent Molinier's nocturnal departures: 'No, it was not to his mistress that Vincent Molinier went each evening.' Sometimes a partial negation can be revelatory. In A la recherche du temps perdu, the narrator, while believing that the narratee's conjectures about the extraordinary suffering of Swann are well-founded, at the same time finds them insufficient. [. . . ].

There are also passages that include a term with demonstrative significance that instead of referring to an anterior or ulterior element of the narrative, refers to another text, to extra-textual experience (hors-texte) known to the narrator and his nartatee.[ . . . ]

Comparisons or analogies found in a narration also furnish us with information more or less valuable. [. . . ].

But perhaps the most revelatory signals and at times the most difficult to grasp and describe in a satisfactory way are those we shall call -- for lack of a more appropriate term -- over-justifications (surjustifications). Any narrator more or less explains the world inhabited by his characters, motivates their acts, and justifies their thoughts. If it occurs that these explanations and motivations are situated at the level of meta-language, meta-commentary, or metanarration, they are over-justifications. When the narrator of La Chartreuse de Parme [. . . ] asks to be excused for a poorly phrased sentence, when he excuses himself for having to interrupt his narrative, when he confesses himself incapable of describing well a certain feeling, these are over-justifications that he employs. Over-justifications always provide us with interesting details about the narratee's personality, even though they often do so in an indirect way; in overcoming the narratee's defenses, in prevailing over his prejudices, in allaying his apprehensions, they reveal them.

The narratee's signals -- those that describe him as well as those that only provide him with information -- can pose many problems for the reader who would wish to classify them in order to arrive at a portrait of the narratee or a certain reading of the text. It's not simply a question of their being sometimes difficult to notice, to grasp, or to explain, but in certain narratives, one can find contradictory signals. Sometimes they originate with a narrator who wishes to amuse himself at the expense of the narratee or underscore the arbitrariness of the text; often the world presented is a world in which the principles of contradiction known to us don't exist or are not applicable; finally, the contradictions -- the entirely obvious ones -- often result from the different points of view that the narrator strives to reproduce faithfully. Nonetheless it occurs that not all contradictory data can be entirely explained in this fashion. In these cases, they should be attributed to the author's ineptness -- or temperament. [. . . ] Coherence is certainly not an imperative for the pornographic genre in which a wild variation is the rule rather than the exception. It nonetheless remains that in these cases, it is difficult -- if not impossible -- to interpret the semantic material presented to the narratee.

Sometimes it is the signals describing the narratee that form a strangely disparate collection. Indeed, every signal relating to a narratee need not continue or confirm a preceding signal or announce a signal to follow. There are narratees who change much as narrators do or who have a rich enough personality to embrace various tendencies and feelings. But the contradictory nature of certain narratees does not always result from a complex personality or a subtle evolution. [. . . ].

Despite the questions posed, the difficulties raised, the errors committed, it is evident that the kinds of signals used, their respective numbers, and their distribution determine to a certain extent the different types of narrative. 11 [ . . . ]

Classification of narratees

Thanks to the signals describing the narratee, we are able to characterize any narration according to the type of narratee to whom it is addressed. It would be useless, because too long, too complicated, and too imprecise, to distinguish different categories of narratees according to their temperament, their civil status, or their beliefs. On the other hand, it would be comparatively easy to classify narratees according to their narrative situation, to their position in reference to the narrator, the characters, and the narration.

Many narrations appear to be addressed to no one in particular: no character is regarded as playing the role of narratee and no narratee is mentioned by the narrator either directly ('Without a doubt, dear reader, you have never been confined in a glass bottle') or indirectly ('We could hardly do otherwise than pluck one of its flowers and present it to the reader'). [. . . ]

In many other narrations, if the narratee is not represented by a character, he is at least mentioned explicitly by the narrator. The latter refers to him more or less frequently and his references can be quite direct ( Eugene Onegin, The Gold Pot, Tom Jones) or quite indirect ( The Scarlet Letter, The Old Curiosity Shop, Les Faux-Monnayeurs). These narratees are nameless and their role in the narrative is not always very important. Yet because of the passages that designate them in an explicit manner, it is easy to draw their portrait and to know what their narrator thinks of them. [. . . ]

Often instead of addressing -- explicitly or implicitly -- a narratee who is not a character, the narrator recounts his story to someone who is ( Heart of Darkness, Portnoy's Complaint, Les Infortunes de la vertu). [. . . ]

The narratee-character might play no other role in the narrative than that of narratee ( Heart of Darkness). But he might also play other roles. It is not rare, for example, for him to be at the same time a narrator. [. . . ] In La Nausée, for example, as in most novels written in the form of a diary, Roquentin counts on being the only reader of his journal.

Then again, the narratee-character can be more or less affected, more or less influenced by the narrative addressed to him. In Heart of Darkness, the companions of Marlowe are not transformed by the story that he recounts to them. In L'Immoraliste, the three narratees, if they are not really different from what they were before Michel's account, are nonetheless 'overcome by a strange feeling of malaise.' And in La Nausée, as in many other works in which the narrator constitutes his own narratee, the latter is gradually and profoundly changed by the events he recounts for himself.

Finally, the narratee-character can represent for the narration someone more or less essential, more or less irreplaceable as a narratee. In Heart of Darkness, it's not necessary for Marlowe to have his comrades on the Nellie as narratees. He would be able to recount his story to any other group; perhaps he would be able to refrain from telling it at all. On the other hand, in L'Immoraliste, Michel wished to address his friends and for that reason gathered them around him. [. . . ] And in A Thousand and One Nights, to have the caliph as narratee is the difference between life and death for Scheherazade. If he refuses to listen to her, she will be killed. He is thus the only narratee whom she can have.

We could probably think of other distinctions or establish other categories, but in any case, we can see how much more precise and more refined the typology of narrative would be if it were based not only upon narrators but also upon narratees.

The narratee's functions

The type of narratee that we find in a given narrative, the relations that tie him to narrators, characters, and other narratees, the distances that separate him from ideal, virtual, or real readers partially determine the nature of this narrative. But the narratee exercises other functions that are more or less numerous and important and are more or less specific to him. It will be worth the effort to enumerate these functions and to study them in some detail.

The most obvious role of the narratee, a role that he always plays in a certain sense, is that of relay between the narrator and the reader(s), or rather between the author and the reader(s). Should certain values have to be defended or certain ambiguities clarified, this can easily be done by means of asides addressed to the narratee. Should the importance of a series of events be emphasized, should one reassure or make uneasy, justify certain actions or underscore their arbitrariness, this can always be done by addressing signals to the narratee. [. . . ] There exist other conceivable relays than direct and explicit asides addressed to the narratee, other possibilities of mediation between authors and readers. Dialogues, metaphors, symbolic situations, allusions to a particular system of thought or to a certain work of art are some of the ways of manipulating the reader, guiding his judgments, and controlling his reactions. Moreover, those are the methods preferred by many modern novelists, if not the majority of them; perhaps because they accord or seem to accord more freedom to the reader, perhaps because they oblige him to participate more actively in the development of the narrative, or perhaps simply because they satisfy a certain concern for realism.

Besides the function of mediation, the narratee exercises in any narration a function of characterization. [. . . ] The relations that a narrator-character establishes with his narratee reveal as much -- if not more -- about his character than any other element in the narrative. In La Religeuse, Sister Suzanne, because of her conception of the naffatee and her asides addressed to him, emerges as much less naïve and much more calculating and coquettish than she would like to appear.

Moreover, the relations between the narrator and the narratee in a text may underscore one theme, illustrate another, or contradict yet another. Often the theme refers directly to the narrative situation and it is the narration as theme that these relations reveal. In A Thousand and One Nights, for instance, the theme of narration as life is emphasized by the attitude of Scheherazade toward the caliph and vice-versa: the heroine will die if her narratee decides not to listen to her any more, just as other characters in the narrative die because he will not listen to them: ultimately, any narrative is impossible without a narratee. But often, themes that do not concern the narrative situation -- or perhaps concern it only indirectly -- reveal the positions of the narrator and the narratee in relation to each other. In Le Père Goriot, the narrator maintains relations of power with his narratee.

From the very beginning, the narrator tries to anticipate his narratee's objections, to dominate him, and to convince him. This sort of war, this desire for power, can be found at the level of the characters. On the level of the events as well as on the level of narration, the same struggle takes place.

If the narratee contributes to the thematic of a narrative, he is also always part of the narrative framework, often of a particularly concrete framework in which the narrator(s) and narratee(s) are all characters ( Heart of Darkness, L'Immoraliste, The Decameron). The effect is to make the narrative seem more natural. The narratee like the narrator plays an undeniable verisimilating (vraisemblabilisant) role. Sometimes this concrete framework provides the model by which a work or narration develops. In The Decameron or in L'Heptameron, it is expected that each of the narratees will in turn become a narrator. More than a mere sign of realism or an index of verisimilitude, the nartatee represents in these circumstances an indispensable element for the development of the narrative.

. . . Finally it sometimes happens that we must study the narratee in order to discover a narrative's fundamental thrust. In La Chute, for example, it is only by studying the reactions of Clamence's narratee that we can know whether the protagonist's arguments are so powerful that they cannot be resisted, or whether, on the contrary, they constitute a skillful but unconvincing appeal. To be sure, the narratee doesn't say a single word throughout the entire novel and we don't even know if Clamence addresses himself or someone else: [. . . ] whatever the identity of the narratee may be, the only thing that counts is the extent of his agreement with the theses of the hero. The latter's discourse shows evidence of a more and more intense resistance on the part of his interlocutor. Clamence's tone becomes more insistent and his sentences more embarrassed as his narrative progresses and his narratee escapes him. Several times in the last part of the novel he even appears seriously shaken. If at the end of La Chute Clamence is not defeated, he certainly has not been triumphant. [. . . ]

The narratee can, thus, exercise an entire series of functions in a narrative: he constitutes a relay between the narrator and the reader, he helps establish the narrative framework, he serves to characterize the narrator, he emphasizes certain themes, he contributes to the development of the plot, he becomes the spokesman for the moral of the work. Obviously, depending upon whether the narrator is skillful or inept, depending upon whether or not problems of narrative technique interest him, and depending upon whether or not his narrative requires it, the narratee will be more or less important, will play a greater or lesser number of roles, will be used in a way more or less subtle and original. Just as we study the narrator to evaluate the economy, the intentions, and the success of a narrative, so too we should examine the narratee in order to understand further and/or differently its mechanisms and significance.

[. . . ] In the final analysis, the study of the narratee can lead us to a better understanding not only of the narrative genre but of all acts of communication.


See, for example, HENRY JAMES, The Art of Fiction and Other Essays, ed. Morris Roberts ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1948); NORMAN FRIEDMAN, ''Point of View in Fiction: The Development of a Critical Concept,'' PMLA 70 ( December 1955): 1160-84; WAYNE C. BOOTH, The Rhetoric of Fiction ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961); TZVETAN TODOROV, ''Poétique'' in Oswald Ducrot et al., Qu'est-ce que le structuralisme? ( Paris: Seuil, 1968), pp. 97-166; and GARARD GENETTE, Figures III ( Paris: Seuil, 1972).

See, among others, WALKER GIBSON, ''Authors, Speakers, Readers, and Mock Readers,'' College English 11 ( February 1950): 265-9 (chap. 9 in this volume); ROLAND BARTHES, ''Introduction A l'analyse structurale des récits,'' Communications 8 ( 1966): 18-19; TODOROV, ''Les Categories du Récit Littéraire,'' Communications 8 ( 1966): 146-7; GERALD PRINCE, ''Notes Towards a Characterisation of Fictional Narratees,'' Genre 4 ( March 1971): 100-5; and GENETTE, Figures III, pp. 265-7.

For convenience's sake, we speak (and will speak often) of readers. It is obvious that a narratee should not be mistaken for a listener -- real, virtual, or ideal.

This description of the linguistic capabilities of the zero-degree narratee nonetheless raises many problems. Thus, it is not always easy to determine the meaning(s) (dénotation[s]) of a given term and it becomes necessary to fix in time the language (langue) known to the narratee, a task that is sometimes difficult when working from the text itself. In addition, the narrator can manipulate a language in a personal way. Confronted by certain idiosyncrasies that are not easy to situate in relation to the text, do we say that the narratee experiences them as exaggerations, as errors, or on the contrary do they seem perfectly normal to him? Because of these difficulties and many others as well, the description of the narratee and his language cannot always be exact. It is, nevertheless, to a large extent reproducible.

We use these terms as they are used in modern logic.

See in this regard, PRINCE A Grammar of Stories: An Introduction ( The Hague: Mouton, 1973). A formal description of the rules followed by all narratives can be found in this work.

On verisimilitude, see the excellent issue 11 of Communications ( 1968).

BARTHES, S/Z ( Paris: Seuil, 1970), pp. 27-8.

We should undoubtedly distinguish the 'virtual' narratee from the 'real' narratee in a more systematic manner. But this distinction would perhaps not be very helpful.

Note that even an 'I' can designate a 'you.'

See, in this regard, GENETTE, 'Vraisemblance et motivation,' in his Figures II ( Paris: Seuil, 1969).

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