Narrative in Question Guest Lecture

Wednesday 8 March 2017, 4.30PM to 6.00pm

Speaker(s): Mari Hatavara (Visiting Professor, Tampere)

A Narratological Analysis of the Political Interview

One of the key issues in the interplay between artistic and everyday narrative practices is the question whether some modes of telling are specific or exclusive to one or the other. Even though the expected in the form of generic models and cultural scripts shapes both literary and everyday narratives, there may be significant differences in literary and everyday narratives especially when it comes to the representation of thought and consciousness. This talk focuses on embedded minds and narratives of vicarious experience in political interviews. Some of my latest publications (e.g. Hatavara & Mildorf 2017 in Narrative; Hatavara 2016 in Narrative Theory, Literature and New Media, Routledge) on using fictionalizing techniques of mind representation in documentary environments, museum exhibition and family interview, have demonstrated that tellers in everyday storytelling situations attribute and represent the inner minds of other people. They use direct thought presentation and other forms of cognitive attributions, verbatim dialogue and perspectival shifts as part of their storytelling. In this talk, I study what kinds of other voices and further signs of mental attribution are present in political interviews. I will look for discursive blends, internal focalization and verbs of consciousness in interviews posted on https://finlandpolitics.org/. The results will contribute to the ongoing debate in Fictionality Studies and suggest interpretative implications for the use of fiction characteristic techniques outside of generic fiction.

Bio: Mari Hatavara is Chair Professor of Finnish Literature at the University of Tampere. Hatavara specializes in narrative studies, word and image studies, and historical and documentary representation. She has published on fictional minds and worlds, autobiography, free indirect discourse, (unnatural) narrative communication, ekphrasis, fictionality, methodological exchange between different disciplinary traditions of narrative theory and analysis, and the poetics of historical fiction and metafiction. Lately, she has been working on testing the validity of literary-narratological methods in the analysis of documentary, nonfictional texts such as an online museum exhibition and politicians’ memoirs and interviews. Hatavara is consortium Principal Investigator for the project “The Literary in Life: Exploring the Boundaries between Literature and the Everyday” funded by the Academy of Finland, 2015–2019.


Narrative in Question is an ICNS research programme for Spring and Summer terms 2017, bringing together visiting speakers and York researchers with narrative-related interests. The core events are a series of seminars and guest lectures, and a culminating workshop featuring international contributors and a workshop focussed upon developing an interdisciplinary research project.

The idea for the programme is that the question of narrative provides a conceptual hub for dialogue amongst participants with widely divergent individual research agendas. The seminars will feature individual research projects in which the issue of narrative is fundamentally at stake. All project participants share a concern to put narrative in question, whether as a theoretical concept, as a mode of discourse or cognition, as a particular corpus or tradition, as a set of formal devices and techniques, as a use of specific media, or as a research methodology.

See the full programme of events

Location: Seminar Room BS/008, Humanities Research Centre, Berrick Saul Building, University of York Campus West

Email: richard.walsh@york.ac.uk

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