Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression

Rhian Atkin

Research output: Book/ReportEdited book


Digression is a crucial motif in literary narratives. It features as a key characteristic of fictional works from Cervantes and Sterne, to Proust, Joyce and Calvino. Moving away from a linear narrative and following a path of associations reflects how we think and speak. Yet an author’s inability to stick to the point has often been seen to detract from a work of literature, somehow weakening it. This wide-ranging and timely volume seeks to celebrate narrative digressions and move towards a theoretical framework for studying the meanderings of literary texts as a useful and valuable aspect of literature. Essays discussing some of the possibilities for approaching narrative digression from a theoretical perspective are complemented with focused studies of European and American authors. As a whole, the book offers a broad and varied view of textual wanderings.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherManey Publishing for the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA)
Number of pages142
ISBN (Print)978-1-907747-90-8
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • narrative
  • digression
  • comparative literature


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