Sylvie Patron is a senior lecturer and research supervisor at Université de Paris. She is the author or editor of several books on narrative theory in French and English, including The Death of the Narrator and Other Essays.


Twentieth-century narratology fostered the assumption, which distinguishes narratology from previous narrative theories, that all narratives have a narrator. Since the first formulations of this assumption, however, voices have come forward to denounce oversimplifications and dangerous confusions of issues. Optional-Narrator Theory is the first collection of essays to focus exclusively on the narrator from the perspective of optional-narrator theories.

Sylvie Patron is a prominent advocate of optional-narrator theories, and her collection boasts essays by many prominent scholars—including Jonathan Culler and John Brenkman—and covers a breadth of genres, from biblical narrative to poetry to comics. This volume bolsters the dialogue among optional-narrator and pan-narrator theorists across multiple fields of research. These essays make a strong intervention in narratology, pushing back against the widespread belief among narrative theorists in general and theorists of the novel in particular that the presence of a fictional narrator is a defining feature of fictional narratives. This topic is an important one for narrative theory and thus also for literary practice.

Optional-Narrator Theory advances a range of arguments for dispensing with the narrator, except when it can be said that the author actually “created” a fictional narrator.

  • Titre : Optional-Narrator Theory. Principles, Perspectives, Proposals
  • Auteur : Sylvie Patron
  • Éditeur : University of Nebraska Press
  • Date de publication : 2021
  • Nombre de pages : 318 p.
  • Collection : Frontiers of Narrative
  • Prix : 39$

Cet ouvrage est publié avec le soutien de l’Université Paris Cité et du Paris Centre for Narrative Matters, ANR-18-IDEX-0001, IdEx Université Paris Cité.