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Narrative Space

Hakan Keleş

Published Apr 14, 2021

The spatial extension of a given narrative, where characters live and act. It consists of all the spaces shown or implied in the story. In literary texts, narrative space is been constructed on readers mind by “mapping” or “navigation” strategies. These mental models enable readers to grasp the movements of the characters within the space and visualize them (Dervişcemaloğlu, 2014). Ryan emphasizes that narrative space could be examined at five levels for any narrative form. Spatial frames: the immediate surroundings of actual events, the various locations shown by the narrative discourse or by the image. Setting: the general socio-historico-geographical environment in which the action takes place. Story space: the space relevant to the plot, as mapped by the actions and thoughts of the characters. Narrative world: the story space completed by the reader’s imagination on the basis of cultural knowledge and real world experience. Narrative universe: the world (in the spatio-temporal sense of the term) presented as actual by the text, plus all the counterfactual worlds constructed by characters as beliefs, wishes, fears, speculations, hypothetical thinking, dreams, and fantasies  (Ryan, 2012)


Ryan, M.-L. (2012). Space. P. Hühn içinde, The living handbook of narratology. Hamburg: Hamburg University.

Dervişcemaloğlu, B. (2014). Anlatıbilime giriş. İstanbul: Dergah Yayınları.

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