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New book publication by AIAS Fellow Jan Alber

The unnatural and the impossible in British and American literature are taken through the narratological lens in Alber’s latest publication.

2016.01.22 | Lena Bering

In his recent book Unnatural Narrative: Impossible Worlds in Fiction and Drama (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016), AIAS Fellow Jan Alber looks at the startling and persistent presence of the impossible or “the unnatural” throughout British and American literary history. Layering the lenses of cognitive narratology, frame theory, and possible-worlds theory, the book offers a rigorous and engaging new characterization of the unnatural and what it yields for individual readers as well as literary culture.

Some parts of the book were written during Alber’s fellowship at AIAS, but the manuscript behind it was part of his Habilitation. For the original manuscript the German Association of University Teachers of English awarded Jan Alber the prize for the best Habilitation written between March 2011 and March 2013.

'This book is primarily relevant for professionals and lay readers who want to make sense of the many impossible scenarios or events that are represented in fiction and drama across the centuries', Alber says.

New methods

Alber’s new book is part of the Frontiers of Narrative Series, featuring interdisciplinary scholarship on narrative as it appears in a range of media. Studies in this series highlight the role of narrative across a variety of cultural and historical settings and outline new methods for investigating storytelling in all of its many guises.

Short bio

Jan Alber is AIAS-COFUND (Marie Curie) Fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies. He is the author of Narrating the Prison: Role and Representation in Charles Dickens’ Novels, Twentieth-Century Fiction, and Film and has coedited several collections, including Stones of Law, Bricks of Shame: Narrating Imprisonment in the Victorian AgeA Poetics of Unnatural Narrative; and Postclassical Narratology: Approaches and Analyses.


Jan Alber, AIAS Fellow
Phone: +4587153686

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, AIAS
Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B
DK- 8000 Aarhus C

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