This paper concerns the first-person retrospective novel, one in which a narrator tells a story about his or her own past. My reasons for using this term rather than more common ones like 'the confessional novel,' 'the memoir novel' or 'the personal novel,' are linked to my appreciation of its qualities. Unlike multiple first-person narratives (Wuthering Heights or Conrad's Marlow tales, for instance) the first-person present-tense fiction (like the diary novel or the journal novel) this narrator is looking back on the past after a period of has elapsed. These distinguishing features-the retrospective dimension, the narrator's autonomy-combine, I think, to give the first-person retrospective novel a peculiar rhetorical power. In what follows I want to explain this assertion, first by proposing that the form of the first-person retrospective novel invites us to read it in a particular way, and second by undertaking a reading of Iris Murdoch's The Sea, the Sea in light of my conclusions.
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Journal of Narrative Technique|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|