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Reading: Narrative Thickness


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Research Article

Narrative Thickness


Rafe McGregor

Department of Philosophy, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, GB
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The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that the experience of a literary narrative qua literary narrative is an experience of narrative thickness, that is, an experience in which narrative form and narrative content are inseparable. I explain my thesis of poetic thickness in § 1, showing why it does not admit of extension from poetry to literary narratives. §§ 2–3 synthesize the work of Derek Attridge and Peter Lamarque, advancing narrative thickness as a necessary condition of literary narratives. I propose a work of didactic literature – J. M. Coetzee’s ‘The Lives of Animals’ – as a paradigmatic counterexample to narrative thickness in § 4. I show, in § 5, that narrative thickness holds for this work in particular and didactic works which are literary in general, concluding that narrative thickness is indeed a necessary condition of literary narratives.
How to Cite: McGregor, Rafe. “Narrative Thickness”. Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics 52, no. 1 (2015): 3–22. DOI:
Published on 15 May 2015.
Peer Reviewed


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