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"According to this principle, events are tellable if they are unusual, problematic, or scandalous" with reference to the actual world (Possible Worlds 152).
In her discussions of the "possible worlds" of narrative, Marie-Laure Ryan argues that "all plots are not created equal" (148), and that all stories consequently do not have the same "narrative appeal" (149).(43) Challenging these views in her response to the paper by Prince that I have just mentioned, Lanser submits that the apparently nonconflictual situation "the cat sat on the mat" could yield a tellable story "in a culture where a cat's sitting on a mat were regarded transgressive behavior," and, conversely, that the conflict-loaded situation "the cat sat on the dog's mat" could yield no such story "in a culture that did not set up dogs and cats as potential enemies."(44) Tellability, for Lanser, is thus neither eternal nor universal.
* Select tellable ghost stories: two or three main characters, action-oriented, one event leading immediately to another without unnecessary description.
The task then is to render body memories tellable, which means to order and arrange them in the form of a story, linking emotion with event, event with event, and so on.
It takes a lot to find the tellable tales within them.
In conjunction with the neglect of her potentially precarious background and the sidelining of Berlin as setting, Arslan deliberately ignores any common narrative anchor and perhaps even challenges basic assumption about what is tellable. But the film is no manifesto against German "cinema of consensus" (Rentschler) or "cinema of identification," as Petzold called it (see Abel "The Cinema of Identification").
Irish's claim that his own history is more "tellable" than that of the French Revolution spurious: "The French Revolution functions as counterpoint to focus readers' and students' desire on his story of the fens.
Along with its companions, this volume is an excellent source for "tellable" tales when authentic cultural perspectives are needed.
"Purposes Mistook: Failures are More Tellable." Talk delivered at the panel on "Cognitive Approaches to Narrative" at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Narrative, Burlington, Vermont, 2004.
In this light, the higher percentage of manner verbs in anecdotes is far from surprising: they focus on how the events in them took place because this is what makes them tellable in the first place, and in so doing, the narratives become worth reading and, presumably, memorable or durable (see also Slobin 2003 in this respect).
Jaccottet, like his German poetic mentor, has taken to heart, as he wanders in the gardens, orchards, meadows, woods, and mountains around his home in Grignan, in the Drome region of southeastern France, Rilke's discovery that "Here is the time for the Tellable, here is its home," as well as the German poet's command to "Speak and proclaim" (Ninth Elegy).
Suspicious of both kinds of formalism, that of the "technological" approach of classic narratology and that of the "artful" approach of both narrative theory and of dominant postnarratological theorists, Goodman is interested in narrative as a social act, as something not only "tellable" but socially and culturally "telling." Toward this end, he produced narratives neither as "well-made" or "artful," nor as "undecidable" or "indeterminate," but as the minimal degree of (social) coherence that can be given to the topography of culture and of the cultural unconscious.