More than a Preface: the »Editor« of Pepita Jiménez
Keywords:narratology, epistolary novel, paratext, Pepita Jiménez, Juan Valera
The present article analyses the narrative structure of Spanish author Juan Valera's first and best novel, Pepita Jiménez, and specificities regarding its alleged (fictional) “editor”. Published in 1872, this epistolary work shows numerous traits of its eighteenth-century predecessors, namely French and British. However archetypical in the beginning, the novel, surprisingly short for having a complex structure of five narrative voices, reveals a unique figure of extradiegetic narrator – fictional editor, who not only wrote a (fictional) preface but also intervened in the narrative discourse on various occasions. Moreover, his comments often contradict his own preface which has (had) one major function: to assure the letters’ authenticity and the veracity of discourse. The author applies Genette’s theory of narrative voices (Figures III, 1972) and paratexts (Seuils, 1987) to prove that the editor’s preface and extradiegetic role is not so much to authenticate as to underline the process of authentication, and that in this case, the question of veracity is by no means dialectical.
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