Narrative features such as frames, digressions, or authorial intrusions have traditionally been viewed as distractions from or anomalies in the narrative proper. In Theory and the Novel Jeffrey Williams exposes these elements as more than simple disruptions, analysing them as registers of narrative reflexivity, that is, moments that represent and advertise the functioning of narrative itself. Williams argues that narrative encodes and advertises its own functioning and modal form. He takes a range of novels from the English canon - Tristram Shandy, Joseph Andrews, The Turn of the Screw, Wuthering Heights, Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness are amongst the novels examined - and shows how narrative technique is never beyond or outside plot. He poses a series of theoretical questions such as about reflexitivity, imitation and fictionality, to offer a striking and original contribution to readings of the English novel, as well as to discussions of theory in general.

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