Extreme Subjectivity

Theoretical Considerations for the First-Person Narrativisation of Death

  • Brigitta Gyimesi


The majority of narratives assign death scenes a crucial role in the development of the plot and characters; yet despite its prominence, dying per se frequently remains untold, with works utilising first-person narrators or focalisers proving especially problematic. From a commonsensical point of view, the authors’reluctance at representing the moment of deathis justifiable since they do not possess any comparable experience. But the fact that all first-person descriptions of death are inauthentic does not mean that they cannot be subject to narrative representation. As it will be demonstrated through the discussion of some recent work in the field of ‘unnatural narratology’ and the cognitive sciences, it may be possible to create a valid and valuable narrative of death even from a first-person perspective.