“What if Icarus Hadn’t Hurtled into the Sea?” Some Remarks towards a Theory of Historical Narratology

Martin Klepper

Abstract


Starting with the narrator’s re-reading and interpretation of her own earlier diaries in Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home, this essay explores several theoretical questions pertaining to historical narratology. The essay argues that historical narratology will work its way through several steps: 1) naming and describing specific innovations or transformations, 2) determining the functions of these changes, 3) identifying dynamic processes of change, 4) appraising the cultural meaning and significance of dynamic transformations, 5) suggesting causes (in conjunction with other discourses), and 6) presenting the findings in perspective views. However, these steps will not be pursued in a neat sequence, but will necessarily take place out of backward and forward movements, as a certain heuristic teleology cannot (and should not) be avoided.