Gérard Genette

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Gérard Genette (born June 7, 1930 in Paris - † May 11, 2018 in Ivry-sur-Seine ) was a French literary scholar who had a major influence on the development of narrative theory since the second half of the 20th century . During his academic career he was mainly associated with the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHEES) in Paris.


After graduating from the Lycée Lakanal, Genette successfully studied at the École normal supérieure . He was appointed to the Sorbonne as an assistant from 1963 and finally as professor of French literature in 1967. In 1970 he helped found the magazine Poétique . In addition, after leaving the French Communist Party (PCF), he was a member of the political organization Socialisme ou barbarie from 1957 to 1958 . In 1969 Genette received a visiting professorship at Yale University . Genette was also head of studies at the Paris École pratique des hautes études (EPHE). Until his retirement in 1994, he worked as research director at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS).

In his professional career, Genette mainly dealt with questions of text analysis based on structuralism . He published influential contributions, for example on the role of the author and intertextuality and paratexts (also dealing with the work of Julia Kristeva ), which he understood as a subcategory of “transtextuality” (see his work Palimpsests. The Second Level Literature ).

Among other things, the re-coining of the term Diegesis goes back to Genette , together with the criteria developed from it for determining focus (see focalization ) or narrative position of a narrative text (see narratology ) or the distinction between “ discours ” and “ histoire ”. The latter terms denote the designation of the form and content of a text, which delimit the what and the how (in English usage mostly with "story vs. discourse"). In the circle of the Russian formalists these were labeledfabula vs. sujet ”, Genette added another aspect to the model:“ histoire ”,“ récit ”and“ narration ”.

The Genettes model is still referred to as the new model in German literary studies. The reason for this lies in the German translation of the work, which is dated 1994, although Genette published his theoretical considerations in French as early as 1974.

Genette died in May 2018 at the age of 87.


French editions

German editions

  • Narrative discourse. A methodological attempt. (From: Figures I – III ) and Neuer Diskurs der Erzählung , both contained in Jochen Vogt (Ed.): Die Erzählung. Munich 1998.
  • Introduction to the Architext. Jutta Legueil, Stuttgart 1990, ISBN 3-9802323-2-8 .
  • Fiction and diction. Translated from the French by Hein Jatho. Fink, Munich 1992, ISBN 978-3-7705-2771-7 .
  • Mimology. Journey to Kratylien. Translated from the French by Michael von Killisch-Horn. Fink, Munich 1996, ISBN 978-3-7705-3073-1 and Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 978-3-518-29111-5 .
  • Paratexts. The book about the accessories of the book. Translated from the French by Dieter Hornig. Campus, Frankfurt am Main / New York 1989, ISBN 3-593-34061-5 and Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-518-29110-6 .
  • Palimpsests. Second level literature. Translated from the French by Wolfram Bayer and Dieter Hornig. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1993, ISBN 3-518-11683-5 .
  • Metalepse . (= Small Format Series, Vol. 2) Translated from the French by Monika Buchgeister. Wehrhahn Verlag, Hannover 2018, ISBN 978-3-86525-591-4 .


  • Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan: A comprehensive Theory of Narrative: Genettes 'Figures III' and the Structuralist Study of Fiction. In: PTL. A Journal for Poetics and Theory of Literature , 1976, 1, pp. 33-62.
  • Matei Chihaia: Gérard Genette . In: Matías Martínez , Michael Scheffel (ed.): Classics of modern literary theory. From Sigmund Freud to Judith Butler. CH Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-60829-2 , pp. 343-364.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Le monde de la littérature en deuil: Gérard Genette est décédé à l'âge de 87 ans. (No longer available online.) In: sudinfo.be. May 11, 2018, archived from the original on May 12, 2018 ; accessed on May 12, 2018 (French). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.sudinfo.be
  2. Holger Fock: The Architext: About a new subject of poetics. In: The daily newspaper (taz). November 8, 1991, accessed on May 12, 2018 (Review of Genettes “Introduction to Architext”).
  3. ^ Wehrhahn Verlag: Publishing information. Retrieved May 14, 2018 .