The Impact of Multiple Voice on Reader Hesitation: The Case of Vladimir Odoevskii's The Sylph

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Abstract

First published in The Contemporary in 1837, Odoevskii's The Sylph has not to date received the critical attention it merits. This article offers an examination of the story in the light of the theory of the fantastic proposed by Tzvetan Todorov. For Todorov, the defining feature of the fantastic is reader hesitation regarding the nature of events in the story world. The narrative and discourse techniques employed in The Sylph are investigated to see how far the story may be considered to belong to this genre. Of particular interest to the discussion of hesitation is Odoevskii's exploitation of multiple narrative voices thanks to the mixed format of the story. This essay updates Todorov's structuralist approach to the fantastic with contemporary narratological theory in order to account for the reader's experience of hesitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-415
Number of pages19
JournalModern Language Review
Volume98
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003

Keywords

  • Odoevskii
  • The Sylph
  • theory of the fantastic
  • Tzvetan Todorov
  • reader hesitation
  • multiple narrative voices
  • narratological theory

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