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date: 22 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article, which discusses the use of tense in (mostly literary) narrative, specifically in narrative fiction and narrative poetry, and principally in English, French, and German literature, makes three clarifications. The first concerns the use of the term aspect, which refers here to only two types of aspect, namely, the imperfective and the perfective. The article compares the simple and perfect tenses in English as against the Romance languages in their marking of anteriority and regarding the completive function. The second proviso concerns the focus on narrative to the exclusion of drama and poetry. The third point of clarification concerns the definition of what is meant by narratology and literary linguistics. Narratology is used here broadly to include all literary approaches to narrative that use linguistic terminology (including the terminology of literary structuralism), and specifically the work of Mieke Bal, Seymour Chatman, Catherine Emmott, Gérard Genette, David Herman, Manfred Jahn, Gerald Prince, Marie-Laure Ryan, Franz Karl Stanzel, and others who have been focusing on tense as a significant feature of narrative texts.

Keywords: tense, narratology, literary linguistics, aspect, English, Romance languages, narrative, fiction, poetry, David Herman

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