The SF Novel as Epic Narration: For a Fusion of ‘Formal’ and ‘Sociological’ Analysis

  • Darko Suvin


The preceding essays, dealing both with technical tools of narratology and indispensable value-judgements springing from the reading interests of given social groups, might have established the necessity to characterize SF texts by some ways of fusing these two approaches. As sundered in most criticism today, such approaches are — rather imprecisely — often labelled ‘formal’ and ’sociological’; taking a cue from linguistics, it would be better to call them ‘syntactic’ and ‘pragmatic’, since their necessary overlap in the intermediary ‘semantic’ or meaning-bestowing approach would then become apparent. This whole book arises out of a conviction — itself a feedback from the experiences culminating in Russia from 1910 to 1930 and retraversed in my previous work — that only such a fusion can lead to encompassing and verifiable positions. The formal, or better syntactical, approach can only be undertaken once we have decided which are the significant forms to be privileged as objects of our investigation; that decision necessarily intervenes into the text from ‘outside’.


Cognitive Insight Verifiable Position Reading Interest Fictional Text Epic Structure 
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Copyright information

© Darko R. Suvin 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darko Suvin
    • 1
  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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