Gerard Ganette was the great French literary theorist who is famous for his contribution in the field of narratology. His ‘Discours’ rightfully turned out to be a standard reference for the description of narrative theory due to the reason that it provides a model in relation to what systematic description, the writers can achieve. According to a preface of Gerard Ganette to the work of Kate Hamburger, with the title ‘The Logic of Literature’ that was published in the year 1986 in France,
“Fiction is not connected with narrative since one cannot study fictional narrative as narrative and as fiction at the same time: the definition of the“as narrative” of narratology signifies that one acts to accept the existence before telling the story to be told; However, the “as fiction” of Käte Hamburger signifies the denial of this approach to hypothesis – and in the same manner, the notion of narrative itself, since the narrative cannot exist without a story; that is why a fictional narrative is nothing more than a narrative fiction (Ganette, 1993).”
These words of Gerard Ganette clearly represents the intricacies involved in the development of the object-narrative-narratology, since the term ‘fiction’ is ambiguously used in the above quotation along with some rhetorical repetitions. As for instance, it is important to pay attention to the ‘one’ who acts to believe in the existence of the story before the narrative or even without it: now, what is the justification of this ‘one’ and who is this ‘one’? Moreover, the quotation given above also includes the Ganette’s denial, under the pretext of splitting up the work, of any other deduction of such a fictional narrative. Also, this has been the explicit purpose of the concept of ‘narrative fiction’ in the text of ‘Logic of Literature’ by Kate Hamburger (Hamburger, 1993). It is essential to refer back to the elementary work in the field of narratology ‘Narrative Discourse’ in order to completely understand that what actually Ganette meant by the terms ‘narrative’, ‘story’ and ‘fiction’. Ganette also proposed that the word ‘story’ should better be used to define the ‘narrative content’ or ‘signified content’ where as the term ‘narrative’ should be applied for the ‘signifier’, the discourse, the statement, or even for the narrative text itself. In accordance to the linguistic Saussure, the words ‘signified’ and ‘signified’ are interchangeable or identical in meaning. However, Ganette (1988) didn’t use them here in their literary sense. The word ‘narrating’, on the other hand, refers to the production of narrative event and through further extension, the entire fictional or real situation under which the event has been executed (Ganette, 1980). Then he designated the job of analyzing the links between the story and the narrative, the narrating and the narrative itself, and the narrating and the story to the study of narrative discourse.
The Cassandra novel written by Christa Wolf is a spectacular effort of incantatory narration that was presented in the voice of Cassandra. Christa Wolf was highly obsessed by the character of Cassandra. Wolf recreated the role of Cassandra in her own way by getting in to the Cassandra narrative herself. Consequently to which, the Christa Wolf’s Cassandra novel turns out to be profound and succinct narrative that describes and recounts the tale of Cassandra in relation to the issues of feminism and war in the context of contemporary world or society.
The most fascinating element about the English version of this book of Wolf is the combination of the novella comprising of letters and essays. Wolf writes about the process of directing Cassandra, specifically in her travels and research. At a time, in Greece, Wolf along with her husband happened to meet two American women who clearly appeared to be lesbians. They were looking for the primitive Minoan culture and the matriarchy. Although the text does not explicitly mention anything about their lesbian status but still Wolf must have known about it. Having attracted to the Minoan women and culture herself Wolf found an association with them. Wolf and these travelling women both were fascinating. It was interesting to learn about their journey and about their findings. The Cassandra novel was regarded as an autobiographical account of a fictional narrative. It was based on the theme of a restrained upper class woman of her era.
When Cassandra’s brother Paris declared that he intends to kidnap Helen, the wife of Menelaus, then Cassandra recollects her memory, as she was also suffered under the imprisonment of Agamemnon:
''Time stood still, I would not wish that on anyone. And the cold of the grave. The ultimate estrangement from myself and from everyone. That is how it seemed. Until finally the dreadful torment took the form of a voice; forced its way out of me, through me, dismembering me as it went; and set itself free. A whistling little voice, whistling at the end of its rope, that makes my blood run cold and my hair stand on end. Which as it swells, grows louder and more hideous, sets all my members to wriggling and rattling and hurling about. But the voice does not care. It floats above me, free, and shrieks, shrieks, shrieks. 'Woe,' it shrieked. 'Woe, woe. Do not let the ship depart.' '' (Wolf, 1984).
At this point, an explicit and rigorous understanding of the relationship between narratology and narrative can be developed. Thus, the term narrative can be explained through the two essential characteristics, which are given below:
1. According Ganette, the narrative is the characteristic of telling a story or a series of events that are linked together, in the absence of which the story could not be called a narrative (ibid).
2. The narrative should be told be someone and that someone is called a narrator. In the absence of a narrator, the story would not be a discourse in itself (ibid).
The above two mentioned characteristic enable the audience to differentiate the object narrative from other ways of story-telling as well as from other forms of the discourse.
In the novel Cassandra, the writer Christa Wolf is retelling the story of Cassandra by portraying the role of Cassandra herself. The tale is in the form of a monologue, narrated by the daughter (Cassandra) of King Priam, who was detained by Agamemnon, which is based on the Trojan War and patriarchy during the fall of Troy. During reading the novel, the audience are compelled to speculate the changes that Troy went through prior and post to the scene of war.
According to Ganette (1988):
“In my view every narrative is, explicitly or not, ‘in the first person’ since at any moment its narrator may use that pronoun to designate himself”.
The Gerard Ganette theory of the narratology comprehensively deals with the important aspects of the contemporary narrative analysis that includes perspective, narrative levels and temporal relations. Most of the works of Ganette encompass these questions for the purpose of giving an assessment and classification of narrative in accordance to the five basic factors, which are namely: duration or speed, era or time, mood, frequency and perspective. All the later studies related to narratology have been routinely formulated on the basis of the similar sorts of classifications. Ganette created numerous technical terms in the Discours such like ‘focalization’, analepsis, heterodiegetic and many others, which are now considered as the vocabulary of general use. Nevertheless, the work of Ganette is not just the taxonomy of the narrative theory but it rather provides an advance analysis that endeavours to provide a re-evaluation of the subject of narratology by means of incorporating a range of hypotheses and original observations in to his study. As for example, under the similar concept of the perspective, Ganette recognized the following two separate notions: the first notion entails the conception of the narrative that means how a narrative is conceived and the second notion relates to the presentation of the narrative that is how it is presented in the text. Furthermore, the conception part is associated with the factor of ‘mood’ whereas the presentation part belongs to the factor of ‘perspective’. ‘Frequency’ is another factor that was identified through the Ganette’s descriptive analysis of narratology. ‘Frequency’ factor refers to the difference between counting an incident singulatively that is by itself and counting it iteratively that is as a constituent of a range of incidents. Although the poetics of Ganette on the topic of narratology is not accepted universally, but still it has been surely regarded as the introductory point for the later discussion on the narrative theory.
The novel Cassandra dates back to the period of 1200 BC when people were estranged from each other to great extent. Wolf describes that during this era of history, the woman’s voice was suppressed as personified by the Cassandra’s clairvoyant. The internal divides of the male-predominant society have been illustrated through the parted family of the King Priam. The truth was silenced and the spoken was false at the time of the conflict with Greece.
Wolf also hinted the paranormal connections of Cassandra with world outside through narrating one of her encounter in the following words:
"I had the feeling that I was screening with my body the place through which, unbeknown to everyone but me, other realities were seeping into our solid- bodied world, realities which our five agreed-upon senses do not grasp: for which reason we must deny them." (Wolf, 1984).
Nevertheless, Ganette designated a significant amount of his work towards the subjects of history and speech, as suggested by Barthes. Ganette put emphasis on the treasure of linguistic analysis that is closely linked to the subject of conventional RHETORIC that includes tropes, figures and schemes. He wrote new versions of such neoclassical rhetoricians in the form of Pierre Fontanier and Cesar Chesneau Dumarsais. He also supported the restructuring of the contemporary theory of figures, in particular semiotic, which underestimates and terms the steady decline in the multiplicity of figures identified through the Baroque and Renaissance rhetoric as a classification of ‘metaphor’ in accordance to the modern criticism. Nevertheless, Ganette did not limit his fascination to just the poetic language, instead he also dedicated himself towards intellectual history by writing a massive essay on it, bearing the name ‘Mimologiques: Voyage en Cratylie’ that turned out to be a high-point achievement of his career at that point of time.
In order to consider a narrative theory as a scientific theory, it is essential that a series of hypotheses are incorporated in it, which can be falsified or rejected. Ganette (1988) concluded the narratology in his words as:
“Narrative without a narrator, the utterance without an uttering, seem to me pure illusion and, as such, “unfalsifiable”. Who has ever refuted the existence of an illusion? I can therefore set against its devotees only this regretful confession: “Your narrative without a narrator may perhaps exist, but for the forty-seven years during which I have been reading narratives, I have never met one”. Regretful is, moreover, a term of pure polite ness, for if I were to meet such a narrative, I would flee as quickly as my legs could carry me: when I open a book, whether it is a narrative or not, I do so to have the author speak to me. And since I am not yet deaf or dumb, sometimes I even happen to answer it”.
In the he novel, Cassandra experiences herself as being as her brother and expresses herself, as such:
"It is not too much to say that I was Hector: because it would not be nearly enough to say that I was joined with him." (Wolf, 1984).
Ganette, Gérard (1972). Narrative Discourse. Trans. Jane E. Lewin. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, reprint. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Ganette, Gérard (1988). Narrative Discourse Revisited. Trans. Jane E. Lewin. Ithaca: Cornell Univer- sity Press.
Ganette, Gérard (1993). Preface to Käte Hamburger, The Logic of Literature. Trans. Dorrit Cohn. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. i–xix.
Hamburger, Käte (1993). The Logic of Literature. Trans. Marilynn J. Rose. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
Wolf, Christa (1984). Cassandra: A Novel and Four Essays , trans. by Jan van Heurck London: Virago Press, p. 1-50.