"A snake of black language": the Trial as Narrative Structure in A.S. Byatt’s Babel Tower

  • Beatrice Seligardi University of Bergamo
Keywords: law in literature, metafiction, A.S. Byatt, cultural narratology


The article offers an analysis of the narrative dimension of the legal episodes in A.S. Byatt’s Babel Tower. The theoretical framework of the investigation is constituted by Nelson Goodman’s theory of worldmaking processes and, more specifically, its application in contemporary cultural narratology. The analysis focuses in particular on the function assumed by specific narrative techniques. The presence of metafictional devices on the one hand, and, on the other hand, of specific diegetic strategies employed by the narrator convey the narrative dramatization of the conflicts between different, juxtaposed master narratives. The existence and the influence of cultural and gender paradigms are reflected in these discursive instances. The resulting law in literature perspective (the presence in a narrative form of scenes and plots dealing with the legal field) could be interpreted as a highly self-reflexive tool, which testimonies the pervasive omnipresence of extra-literary narrative dynamics.


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Author Biography

Beatrice Seligardi, University of Bergamo
PhD student in Euroamerican Literature at the University of Bergamo. Member of the European Programme PhDnet "Literary and Cultural Studies".


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How to Cite
Seligardi, B. (2012). "A snake of black language": the Trial as Narrative Structure in A.S. Byatt’s Babel Tower. Between, 2(3). https://doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/388
Narratives on Law, Narratives in Law