Article Details

In: KulturPoetik 2019, Issue 2


Martina King


Historische Narratologie. Ein Weg zur Kontextualisierung von Textstrukturen




This article responds to Manfred Engel’s attempt to spark a debate on contextualism and its methodological foundations (as published in KulturPoetik 2018/1). It deals with the idea of contextualizing formal aspects of texts (and not only content) and discusses possible principles of how to select representative and relevant contextual examples. The first part discusses what contextualism can offer if we work with a broader concept of literature that involves not only canonical works but also artifacts from popular culture. Against this background, the so-called ›historical narratology‹ offers possibilities for contextualizing the aesthetic form: it aims at embedding structural elements of fictional prose in selected historical contexts and thus attributes meaning to them. The second part of this article gives an example of how to contextualize narrative structures. It shows that the English detective story in the 19th century shares very peculiar narrative features with a specific factual prose genre that emerges from the growing scientific culture: the clinical case report in medical journals around and after 1810.