About This Issue


  • Herausgeber / Editors


The current issue is devoted to illness narratives. Discourses on illness have in recent years become a major topic in cultural studies, hence our aim to put forward a timely selection of papers which foreground narratological aspects of illness narratives. Our call for papers generated so many interesting proposals that we decided to dedicate two issues of DIEGESIS to this topic. The contributions included in the present issue 6.2 deal with literary and paraliterary illness narratives. In the sequel issue 7.1, to appear in summer 2018, the emphasis will shift to interdisciplinary aspects.

In this issue we present studies of illness narratives which use and discuss a broad range of narratological concepts. Rosalia Baena delineates strategies of narrative empathy in autobiographies. Marie-Theres Federhofer applies the concept of ‘small stories’ current in conversational linguistics to diaries which deal with illness. Josef Forsling analyzes the function of prophetic narrative stances in illness narratives of the Old Testament. Olivetta Gentilin discusses metaphors for psychic illnesses in texts by Georg Büchner. Horst Gruner and Wim Peeters disclose how guidebooks on neurasthenia around 1900 are organized according to Jurij Lotman’s theory of narrative world-modeling. Ursula Kocher describes the narrative representation of mental illnesses in early texts by Alfred Döblin, using Gérard Genette’s terms of modus and pace. Shoshana-Rose Marzel adopts the perspective of gender narratology to discuss the depiction of female illness in the novels of Émile Zola. Iris Schäfer discovers in the narrative representation of illness in recent adolescent literature the presence of an aesthetics of the sublime. Nina Schmidt analyzes forms and functions of narrative voice and agency in autobiographical illness narratives.

Besides the studies on illness narratives, this issue includes two guest contributions: the Belgian graphic novel creator Eva Cardon gives an inside view on the making of her autobiographical graphic narrative Wij twee samen on her father’s dementia, while Florian Kragl delineates systematic and historic dimensions of episodic storytelling in literature.

In our column “My Narratology,” Brian McHale answers our questions about his personal concept of narratology.