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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Permanent gaps, a neglected part of the broader and much-discussed issue of narrative gaps or ellipses, are gaps in narrative for which there is neither explicit nor implicit textual evidence of anything that can be taken as an actual part of a narrative’s series of events. This chapter proposes three different kinds of permanent narrative gap. The first two kinds, illustrated with passages from Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” and Farhadi’s film A Separation, are marked by two different ways in which “shadow stories” can occupy a space where nothing happens in the actual world of the text. (Shadow stories exist in a narrative progression only as possible, not actual, event sequences.) The third kind, illustrated with instances from Eliot’s The Waste Land and Lead Belly’s rendition of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” is the permanent gap that works best without the imagined insertion of any shadow stories whatsoever.

Keywords: narrative gap, ellipses, shadow story, narrative progression, event, Hemingway, Farhadi, T. S. Eliot

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