Metalepsis and/as Queer Desire: Queer Narratology and the 'Unnatural'

Florian Zitzelsberger

Abstract


After tracing the connection between metalepsis, originally defined as a transgression of narrative levels, and the term ‘unnatural’ in various strands of narratology, this article argues that unnatural narratology, a postclassical approach specifically dedicated to non- or antimimetic narrative phenomena like metalepsis, follows what Eve Sedgwick calls paranoid inquiry. The perspective of queer narratology subsequently weighs in on discussions of ‘naturalness’ and ‘unnaturalness’ in a reparative effort: Metalepsis, as theorized in this paper, is expressive of the queer failure at being ‘natural’ and thus possesses a potential to articulate desires that are usually made invisible, inconceivable, or unintelligible by the normative framework and exclusionary rhetoric of narratology. Case studies of the video game What Remains of Edith Finch (2017) and the film musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) complement my theoretical deliberations and show that metalepsis can be more than ‘unnatural’ by affirming desires grounded in positive affects related to togetherness, belonging, and unity.

Keywords


metalepsis; unnatural narratology; paranoia; queer narratology; affect; reparative reading

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5283/copas.329

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