Is Julian Barnes Reliable in Narrating the Noise of Time?
- Michael H. M. Ng
Wayne C. Booth says that a novelist creates an implied author that is an ideal, literary, and created version of the real author. Seymour Chatman has emphasized the implied author is a principle that invents the narrator who has the direct means of communicating. Chatman says it is important distinguish among narrator, implied author, and real author.
Booth originally says that unreliable narrators vary on how far and in what direction they depart from the author’s norms. The concept of Booth’s term ‘unreliable narrator’ has been a subject to debate. In Ansgar Nunning’s perspective, the reader has a role in detecting narrational unreliability. There are four forms of unreliable narration: intranarrational unreliability, internarrational unreliability, intertextual unreliability, and extratextual unreliability.
Julian Barnes’ novel The Noise of Time is a fictional biography of a real Russian composer named Dmitri Shostakovich whose work of art flourishes even under the oppression of the Soviet government. According to a review in The Guardian, the novel is mainly on Shostakovich’s battle with his conscience when living under the rule of Joseph Stalin. It is possible that the real author, implied author, and narrator are the same person in Barnes’ case. The objective of this article is to examine whether Barnes is reliable in telling the story of Shostakovich or not.
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- Alice DingEditorial Assistant