Typological model of the narrative situations

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The typological model of narrative situations of Franz Karl Stanzel is a common scheme for the analysis of prose , which since the 1950s, despite frequent criticism widespread in the literature has found. Within narrative theory , it is one of several common models for differentiating between narrative perspectives .

Authoritative narrative situation

In the authorial narrative situation, the narrator ( authorial narrator ) does not belong to the story he is telling, but appears clearly as the originator and mediator of the story . The narrator himself is not part of the portrayed world, but describes it "omniscient" from the outside, which is why he is often referred to as the omniscient narrator . For example, he can establish connections with future and past events, comment on them and make evaluations (narrator speech), describe actions of different characters at the same time in different places, etc. In general, he knows more than his characters, he knows and sees their world of thoughts and feelings the situation from a different perspective.

It is fundamental that the narrator, characters and reader - in contrast to the anti-authorial narrative situation - share a value system so that the reader can easily identify with the main character. The statements of the authorial narrator are always true, believable and correspond to the social consensus at the time of creation.

Although a personal moment sometimes appears in dialogues in the figure speech, the gesture remains authorial despite this trick. Figurative speech can take the form of indirect and direct speech.

The narrator can also claim to know no more than the reader. In this narrative situation, self-reflective phrases often occur in which the narrator himself addresses the storytelling, fools the reader, instructs, etc. In the narrated text passages, the 3rd person (“he” / “she”) is predominant. The basic form of the authorial narrative situation is the reporting narrative. In contrast to this, the scenic representation, which can also be used in such novels, takes a back seat.

“Once upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess. But that should be a real princess. He traveled all over the world to find one, but something was missing everywhere. There were enough princesses, but he could never find out whether they were real princesses. There was always something that wasn't quite right. Then he came home and was very sad because he wanted to have a real princess. "

“The Weute had been schoolmasters in Auenthal since the days of Sweden, and I don't think anyone was sued by the pastor or his parish. Eight or nine years after the wedding, Wutz and his son provided the office with intelligence - our Maria Wutz lectured under his father the week in which he learned to spell, which is no good. "

The term is derived from the Latin auctor (multiplier, author).

Personal narrative situation

This gesture actually only appears in the novel of modernism, for example B. in Kafka . The reader is not aware of the presence of the narrator. The reader perceives the narrative from the perspective of a certain figure, the so-called reflector figure (or persona ). However, the realms of being of the narrator and the character are not identical. In the narrated passages, the third person (“he” / “she”) is predominant, but it is mainly told from the inner perspective of the reflector figure. Therefore, predictions or knowledge of what is happening elsewhere are more likely not to be expected or the statements of the narrator cannot be trusted. The reader only gets a limited insight into the feelings and thoughts of the characters: feelings and thoughts of a certain character in the narrative (the reflector figure) become known.

In this way, contrary to the authorial gesture, identification is prevented and the reader is forced, instead of assuming the position of the narrator, to question it and to make a judgment himself. So there is no longer any consensus on values ​​between narrator, character and reader.

“First of all he wanted to get up quietly and undisturbed, get dressed and, above all, have breakfast, and only then think about further things, because, as he probably noticed, he would not end up thinking properly in bed. He remembered that he had often felt some slight pain in bed, perhaps caused by lying awkwardly, which then turned out to be pure imagination when he got up, and he was curious to see how his current ideas would gradually dissolve. "

“At first he felt urgent when the rock jumped away like this, the gray forest shook under him and the fog soon devoured the forms, soon half revealed the mighty limbs; He was pressed for something, like lost dreams, but he found nothing. Everything was so small, so close, so wet to him; he would have liked to put the earth behind the stove. "

- Georg Büchner : Lenz . 1839

In the modern novel, according to the literary scholar Stanzel , with the stronger differentiation between narrative and figurative language, the quotes from figurative language are more clearly set off from the authorial report and come more to the fore, i. H. the personal narrative elements increase at the expense of the authorial ones. The more such “quotes” appear from figurative language and the more they are characterized as figural speech, the more pronounced the personal element emerges in the narrative.

Other significant examples

First-person narrative situation

In the first-person narrative situation, the narrator is usually identical to a character in the narrative, so he also enters the action. One speaks here of the identity of the realms of being of the narrator and the characters. However, the “narrating me” is often the more experienced and mature version of the “experiencing me”. However, it should be noted that a first-person narrator can be involved in the narrated event to different degrees. B. in the role of a more or less involved observer of an event or as a minor character.

Direct speech, even without marking with special punctuation marks or introductory sentences, representation of subjective emotional states, opinions and perspectives, all of these are quite typical, expected features of a first-person narration. The first-person narrator, on the other hand, often has no critical distance from his narration.

This narrative situation seems natural. When someone tells what happened to them, they are also speaking from a first-person perspective. As a rule, this perspective is particularly suitable for arousing a sense of identity with the narrator in the reader. So the feeling that the reader experiences for himself what happens to the narrator as the character of the text.

“We started in La Guardia, New York, three hours late due to snow storms. As usual on this track, our machine was a super constellation. I immediately got ready to sleep, it was night. "

“I was all alone and dependent on myself; but I had good weapons and an excellent horse to rely on. I also knew the area or the areas that I had to ride through well and told myself that it was easier for an experienced western man to get through alone than with people he could not fully rely on. "

- Karl May : Old Surehand I. 1894

Another special form of first-person narration is an " inner monologue " in which the consciousness content of a character is conveyed (apparently) without distance (see Schnitzler's Lieutenant Gustl (1901) or Fräulein Else (1924)). A special form of the inner monologue is the stream of consciousness ( stream of consciousness ), in which the flow of thought is to be presented in pure form, which can lead to grammatical to dissolve forms (see the monologue of Molly Bloom in Joyce ' Ulysses (1922)). A - very rare - variation of the inner monologue is a kind of self-talk in the you-form ( Michel Butor : La modification. 1957).

The type circle

Stanzel arranges the three types of narrative situations in a type circle so that all three adjoin and overlap. These are complex ideal types that combine various individual characteristics.

Each type is characterized by a certain combination of the following features:

Narrative mode
There is either a narrator figure who conveys the action to the reader himself (authorial / I), or a reflector figure who is close to the reader as an acting person but is separate from the narrator (personal).
The realms of being (worlds of experience) of narrator and characters are identical (I), or they are separate from one another , that is, the narrator does not move in the same world as his characters (authorial / personal).
Either outside perspective (authorial), inside perspective (I) or a mixture of both (personal).

The types are to be understood as descriptive (descriptive) and analytical, not as normative or prescriptive, that is, not as an ideal that individual texts more or less satisfy, but as a tool for analyzing texts. Individual narratives can deviate more or less from the ideal types and also show variations and mixed forms of types. The deviation is therefore not to be assessed negatively, but shows the variety of narrative situations.

Criticism of Stanzel's model

Many narrative theorists take critical positions towards Stanzel's concept. "The instrumental usefulness of Stanzel's descriptive features has been recognized several times, but the theoretical-systematic foundation has been criticized."

Basically three directions of criticism of Stanzel can be identified. Stanzel's type formation judges one of these directions as analytically inadequate. This direction of criticism is represented by Gérard Genette . Another criticism, represented by the American Germanist Dorrit Cohn , suggests changes within the framework given by Stanzel, without fundamentally calling the system into question. A third criticism is the lack of integration in an overarching historical dimension. This direction is represented by Robert Weimann , for example .

The model is conceded, for example by Jochen Vogt , that although it is based on very precise observations of a large number of narrative texts, it does not form an actual system. It is precisely this non-systematic character of Stanzel's model that Vogt suspects of contributing to its usefulness and popularity for direct text interpretations. In addition, Stanzel's model has its practical value as "a kind of narrative-theoretical toolbox".


  • Christoph Bode : The novel. An introduction (= UTB. Literary Studies 2580). A. Francke Publishing House. Tübingen u. a. 2005, ISBN 3-7720-3366-0 .
  • Gérard Genette : The story (= UTB for science. Literature and linguistics 8083). Fink, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-7705-2923-5 .
  • Herbert Kraft : Excursus: About authorial and personal storytelling. In: Herbert Kraft: Cheated out of Schiller. Neske, Pfullingen 1978, ISBN 3-7885-0096-4 , pp. 48-58.
  • Herbert Kraft: Kafka. Reality and perspective. 2nd Edition. Peter Lang, Bern 1983 ( DNB ).
  • Eberhard Lämmert : Types of storytelling. Metzler, Stuttgart 1955 (9th, unchanged edition, ibid 2004, ISBN 3-476-00097-4 ).
  • Matías Martínez, Michael Scheffel : Introduction to narrative theory. CH Beck, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-406-44052-5 .
  • Franz Stanzel : The typical narrative situations in the novel. Shown on “Tom Jones”, “Moby Dick”, “The Ambassadors”, “Ulysses” and others. a. (= Vienna Contributions to English Philology 63, ISSN  0083-9914 ). Braumüller, Vienna a. a. 1955.
  • Franz K. Stanzel: Theory of storytelling (= UTB for science. Uni-Taschenbücher 904). 6th unchanged edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1995, ISBN 3-525-03208-0 .
  • Franz K. Stanzel: Typical forms of the novel (= Kleine Vandenhoeck-Reihe 187, ZDB -ID 255845-2 ). 12th edition, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1993, ISBN 3-525-33464-8 .
  • Jochen Vogt : Aspects of narrative prose. An introduction to narrative technique and novel theory (= WV Studium 145). 7th revised and expanded edition. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen u. a. 1990, ISBN 3-531-22145-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. z. B. in Goethe's conversations with German emigrants or Theodor Fontane's novels
  2. See the examples from Franz K. Stanzel: Theory of storytelling (= UTB for science. Uni-Taschenbücher 904). 6th unchanged edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1995, ISBN 3-525-03208-0 , pp. 248-251.
  3. Date not fully clarified
  4. See entry in the dictionary of foreign words at Wissen.de .
  5. ^ Franz K. Stanzel: Theory of storytelling (= UTB for science. Uni-Taschenbücher 904). 6th unchanged edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1995, ISBN 3-525-03208-0 , p. 250f.
  6. In the spirit of Max Weber
  7. a b Jochen Vogt: Aspects of narrative prose. An introduction to storytelling and romance theory . 8th edition. 1998, p. 84 .