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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reconciling narrative spaces : conceptual blending in Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince and Calvino's Invisible Cities Shanks, Rhonda


Narratologists define narrative as a chronological series of events, and thus focus on temporality in their definitions of narrative form, neglecting the crucial role that space and spatiality may play in some narratives. In this project, I use cognitive linguists Fauconnier and Turner's theory of conceptual blending to analyze two very different pieces of literature, Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince and Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, the former a children's story and the latter a postmodern experimental work of fiction. While many narratologists and literary theorists focus on the destabilizing aspects of postmodern fiction and claim that it is "anti-narrative" because it resists assumptions about temporal linearity, conceptual blending analysis reveals that some such texts may be dependent for a feeling of coherence or "storiness" on the very cognitive frames and spatial structures that they deconstruct. The affinity between Saint-Exupèry's and Calvino's works suggests that there may be a particular corpus of texts, which I term "spatialized narratives," that maintain in the mind of the reader their own kind of coherence despite their ostensible non-referentiality or fragmentation — a kind of coherence that lies more in spatiality than in temporality.

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