Postclassical Narratology: Twenty Years Later

deadline for submissions: 
April 30, 2019
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Call for Articles: Word and Text – A Journal of Literary Studies and Linguistics, IX (2019)


Postclassical Narratology: Twenty Years Later

Guest Editors: Biwu Shang, Arleen Ionescu and Laurent Milesi


As a term, ‘postclassical narratology’ was proposed by David Herman in his ground-breaking article ‘Scripts, Sequences, and Stories: Elements of a Postclassical Narratology’ (1997) and widely popularized in his edited volume Narratologies: New Perspectives on Narrative Analysis (1999). The last two decades witnessed an explosive interest in narrative studies, which to a large extent could be categorized as the various strands of postclassical narratology. Although in Herman’s view postclassical narratology does contain classical moments, it does not simply mean that the term, in the very literal sense, periodizes narratology into classical vs. postclassical phases. Instead, it refers to those newly-developed approaches beyond structuralism and to new narrative phenomena in the spectrum of analysis.

The boom and rapid development of postclassical narratology is evidenced in an unaccountable number of works produced in the past years; to name a few: James Phelan and Peter J. Rabinowitz’s A Companion to Narrative Theory (2005), Jan Alber and Monika Fludernik’s Postclassical Narratology: Approaches and Analysis (2010), David Herman et al.’s Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates (2012), Biwu Shang’s Contemporary Western Narratology: Postclassical Perspectives (2013), Jan Alber and Per Krogh Hansen’s Beyond Classical Narration: Transmedial and Unnatural Challenge (2014), and Zara Dinnen and Robyn Warhol’s The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Narrative Theories (2018). However, we should be aware of the fact that along with its unprecedented development, postclassical narratology has also met controversies from various directions. For instance, Brian Richardson (1997) and Meir Sternberg (2011) are doubtful of both the term ‘postclassical narratology’ and the distinction of the classical/postclassical in narrative studies.

As a rejoinder to the thought-provoking and timely initiative of the second phase of postclassical narratology by such scholars as  David Herman and Biwu Shang (2010), Jan Alber and Monika Fludernik (2010), and Biwu Shang (2015), this special issue ‘Postclassical Narratology: Twenty Years Later’, in order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this new orientation in the field of narratology, attempts to examine and assess the development of narrative inquiries in the postclassical context of the last two decades. Suggested topics include but are not limited to:


- Classical Concepts, Postclassical Perspectives

- Narrative Theory Today and Tomorrow: Current State and Future Directions

- Rhetorical Theory of Narrative

- Feminist Narrative Theory

- Unnatural Narrative Theory

- Cognitive Narrative Theory

- Transmedial Narrative Theory

- Fictionality, Emotionality, Ideology, etc.


We welcome interdisciplinary approaches, ranging across critical theory, literary and cultural studies, as well as other disciplines in the humanities. Contributors are advised to follow the journal’s submission guidelines and stylesheet available from The deadline for abstract submissions is April 30, 2019. Please send 500-word proposals to the editors of the volume, who will answer any queries you may have. Articles selected for publication must be submitted by June 30, 2019. All submitted articles will be blind-refereed except when invited. Accepted articles will be returned for post-review revisions by July 30, 2019 and will be expected back in their final version by September 30, 2019 at the latest.

Proposals and articles should be sent as attachments to and the three editors of the issue Biwu Shang (, Arleen Ionescu ( and Laurent Milesi (