Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 13, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 427 pages
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Paratexts are those liminal devices and conventions, both within and outside the book, that form part of the complex mediation between book, author, publisher, and reader: titles, forewords, epigraphs, and publishers' jacket copy are part of a book's private and public history. In Paratexts, an English translation of Seuils, Gerard Genette shows how the special pragmatic status of paratextual declarations requires a carefully calibrated analysis of their illocutionary force. With clarity, precision, and an extraordinary range of reference, Paratexts constitutes an encyclopedic survey of the customs and institutions of the Republic of Letters as they are revealed in the borderlands of the text. Genette presents a global view of these liminal mediations and the logic of their relation to the reading public by studying each element as a literary function. Richard Macksey's foreword describes how the poetics of paratexts interacts with more general questions of literature as a cultural institution, and situates Genette's work in contemporary literary theory.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The publishers peritext
16
Formats
17
Series
22
The cover and its appendages
23
The title page and its appendages
32
Typesetting printings
33
The name of the author
37
Genesis
210
Choice of a public
212
Commentary on the title
213
Contracts of fiction
215
The order in which to read
218
Statements of intent
221
Genre definitions
224
Dodges
229

Onymity
39
Anonymity
42
Pseudonymity
46
Titles
55
Place
64
Time
66
Senders
73
Addressees
74
Functions
76
Designation
79
Connotations
89
Temptation?
91
Genre indications
94
The pleaseinsert
104
Tangents and appendages
114
Dedications and inscriptions
117
Place
126
Time
127
Dedicators
129
Dedicatees
131
Functions
135
The inscription of the copy
136
Place time
138
Inscriber inscribee
139
Functions
140
Epigraphs
144
Place time
149
The epigraphed
150
Epigraphers
153
Epigraphees
155
Functions
156
The prefatorial situation of communication
161
Prehistory
163
Form
170
Place
172
Time
174
Senders
178
Addressees
194
The functions of the original preface
196
The themes of the why
198
Importance
199
Novelty tradition
200
Unity
201
Truthfulness
206
Lightning rods
207
The themes of the how
209
Other prefaces other functions
237
Later prefaces
239
Delayed prefaces
247
Allographic prefaces
263
Actorial prefaces
276
Fictional prefaces
277
Disavowing authorial prefaces
280
Fictive authorial prefaces
284
Fictive allographic prefaces
288
Fictive actorial prefaces
291
Mirrors
292
Intertitles
294
Cases of absence
295
Degrees of presence
297
Narrative fiction
298
History
309
Didactic texts
311
Collections
312
Tables of contents running heads
316
Notes
319
Senders addressees
322
Functions
324
original notes
325
later notes
328
delayed notes
330
Texts of fiction
332
Allographic notes
337
Actorial notes
339
Fictional notes
340
The public epitext
344
The publishers epitext
347
The semiofficial allographic epitext
348
The public authorial epitext
351
Autoreviews
352
Public responses
354
Mediations
356
Delayed autocommentaries
367
The private epitext
371
Correspondence
372
Oral confidences
384
Diaries
387
Pretexts
395
Conclusion
404
Additional references
411
Index
419
Copyright

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