A Point of View’s History by Alain Rabatel: Narratology to Linguistics, Volume 1

Under the general title of From narratology to linguisticsthe author reissues his first three studies (1997-2004) on the point of view:

Tome I, A story from the point of view,
Tome II, The textual construction of the point of view,
Tome III, Argue by telling.

First volume of the series, A story from the point of view tackles the problem posed by the notion of PDV in school education, of which it has become a bridge to donkeys while it is particularly delicate to handle. The successive theorizations of narrative focalization are so dependent on their historico-theoretical contexts of emergence that their epistemological criticism imposes itself.

The book analyzes the avatars of the PDV among critics (Pouillon, Blin, Magny, Rousset), narratologists (Genette, Bal, Vitoux, Lintvelt), linguists (Danon-Boileau, Greimas, Fontanille), hermeneutics and theorists of reading (Ricœur, Iser, Jauss, Eco, Jouve). Many purely metaphorical interpretations of the PDV are explained by a strong linguistic deficit and contribute to maintaining it. Proposing the refoundation of this notion, the author starts from the concepts of subject of consciousness or enunciator and from the linguistic expression of perceptions more or less clearly associated with the thoughts represented.

“Jeanne, having finished her trunks, approached the window, but the rain did not stop. (Maupassant, begins d’A life): in a third-person narrative context, the POV is linked to many more or less significant traces of the subjectivity or cognitive activity of a subject of consciousness, center of perspective, even if this subject does not speak, as soon as the text tells by putting itself in its place…

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