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Unnatural narratives in Sam Shepard’s Mad Dog Blues

  • Hossein Pirnajmuddin
  • Omid AmaniEmail author


The main focus of this article is the term “unnatural” in a narratological analysis of Sam Shepard’s Mad Dog Blues (1971) in the light of ‘possible worlds’ theory. The term is recently coined and, in Jan Alber’s definition, designates those physically, logically, and even humanly impossible scenarios and events—according to the cognitive model of possible worlds—that challenge our real world knowledge. Mad Dog Blues is deemed to be one of the most complicated, fast-moving, and vividly imaginative but also obscure and puzzling of Shepard’s plays. The play in postmodernist fashion teems with a simultaneous collage-like collection of different types of unnatural narratives and storyworlds. It starts with a self-reflexive postmodern list; confronts us with unnatural characters; deconstructs our real-world knowledge about time and temporal progress; and presents us with impossible spaces. The analysis of the play in this essay is based on Jan Alber’s reading strategies which are meant to naturalize the play’s unnatural narratives.


Sam Shepard’s Mad Dog Blues Jan Alber Unnatural narratives Cognitive poetics Possible worlds Postmodernism 



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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English DepartmentUniversity of IsfahanIsfahanIran
  2. 2.English DepartmentMalayer UniversityMalayerIran

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