The nature of the principal is one important factor determining the nature of diplomatic representation. Specifically, it matters whether the diplomatic agent has a single principal or receives instructions from a collective body. Principal-agent theory heeds the problems of collective or multiple principals, peculiarly to the increased autonomy agents may enjoy as a result of competing preferences among principals. The unequivocal instructions from a single sovereign in earlier times left less leeway for diplomats than the frequently vague instructions resulting from negotiations among different actors and agencies in modern democracies. And whereas democratic states place diplomats at the end of multiple chains of principals and agents, diplomats representing contemporary authoritarian states, with one clearly identifiable principal, have more restrictive mandates.
If one looks closely at the political discourse of personal politics, people are not just sharing information. They are sharing stories. While the Arab Spring was initially heralded as a social media revolution, researchers now credit the story-driven nature of the phenomenon.140 These stories are not carefully crafted strategic narratives but emotionally resonant narratives of affinity and identity.
Schmid (1982) puts forth an alternative model of narrative mediation by breaking down the story vs. discourse dichotomy into four terms: Geschehen (events); Geschichte (fabula or story); Erzählung (plot); Präsentation der Erzählung (narrative discourse). He goes on to posit three processes of transformation between these levels, all of which are accomplished by the narrator. According to Schmid, the mediating narrator first selects particular situations, characters, events, and qualities from the invented story material and transforms them into a story. The narrator then transforms the story into a narrative plot, going through a process that correlates with the linearization of simultaneous event sequences and the permutation of chronological story segments. And finally, the narrator presents the narrative by verbalizing it in a particular style. However, as Cohn argues, fictional narratives do not typically transform something pre-existent into a narrative, and they are thus plotted rather than emplotted (1990: 781). It is therefore worth noting that Schmid assumes an ideal-genetic perspective: the invented story material logically precedes the presentation of the narrative.
In order to examine the voice of the narrator in The Hobbits and to determine its most characteristic features, it is necessary to first take a closer look at some theoretical aspects and the different approaches to analysing the narrator and the narrative situation of a novel. There are a number of different narrative theories available, and for this paper two of them will be consulted in order to characterise the voice of the narrator in The Hobbit.
Lastly, the figural narrative situation does not feature a mediator as such, but instead what Stanzel calls a reflector. Here the narrator is also a character within the story, but he does not address the reader directly like an authorial narrator might. The reader perceives the unfolding events through the eyes of that reflector, without commentary, and the narrative voice remains in the background. Therefore, contrary to the other two, the figural narrative situation conveys a sense of immediacy to the readers, without the help of an obvious mediator.
However, it is important to note that it is not possible, despite the seemingly clear classification, to completely separate the three narrative situations from each other. Instead they may gradually merge into each other. Stanzel described them as:
A theory that Iraq was behind the attacks, based upon purported evidence that the powder was weaponized and some reports of alleged meetings between 9/11 conspirators and Iraqi officials, may have contributed to the hysteria which ultimately enabled the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
Even though explicit cues about whose perspective is expressed are often lacking, readers constantly make inferences while engaging with fiction and are able to make sense of a story. How do readers then determine whose consciousness is being reported in such ambiguous statements in narratives and what are the textual and/or pragmatic cues that they rely on during this process
Regarding free thought reports, to my knowledge there have been no empirical studies taking into account FID in first-person narratives. FID is usually discussed as a phenomenon occurring mainly in third-person narratives and this is also observed in empirical studies on the processing of FID which use third-person stories in their experimental setting or, at least, items where the speaker is not explicitly referred to (see Bortolussi and Dixon, 2003; Bray, 2007; Kaiser, 2015; Salem, Weskott, and Holler, 2017; Salem, Weskott, and Holler, 2018; and Sotirova, 2006). However, FID can also occur in first-person stories, when the character-narrator narrates personal experiences and her corresponding thoughts and reflections as these occurred in some past moment (for more discussion, see Cohn and Cohn, 1978; Fludernik, 2003; Nielsen, 2004; and Stanzel, 1986). See example (11) for an illustration:
Experiments 1 and 2 were conducted in English and were run on Amazon Mechanical Turk, an online crowdsourcing platform. Experiment 1 tested the following questions: do free thought and free perception reports differ with respect to triggering readings in which the character is the anchor Does this difference depend on the kind of narration in which the story is written, that is, on whether the story is a first-person or a third-person narrative
The findings of experiment 2 give rise to the following question: will the preference for the narrator be as strong if the other protagonist has a more prominent status in the story, i.e., if the other protagonist is globally prominent What about third-person narratives with an impersonal narrator and both a globally prominent and a secondary, less salient character These questions are investigated in experiments 3 and 4 that were conducted in Greek. The experiments were run simultaneously over the internet. Each participant was randomly assigned to either experiment 3 or experiment 4 so that no participant did both experiments.
Experiment 3 tested the effect of global prominence on perspectivisation in first-person narratives. The goal was to explore if global prominence of another character would suppress speaker preference and if that effect would differ in perception and thought reports.
Overall, the present study suggests that once a plausible anchor is determined, readers will attribute ambiguous reports of both perception and thought to that entity, usually the character that is mentioned to have the related sensory experience in the preceding discourse, supporting Hinterwimmer (2017a). Given that perception and thought descriptions often intermingle in narratives and thoughts are causally connected to perceptions, it should not be so surprising that free reports are uniformly perspectivised in this way.
Narration type was shown to have a quite robust effect (experiment 1). It was shown that reading third-person narratives, as opposed to first-person narratives, increases the chances of choosing the character as the anchor of free reports as opposed to the narrator, suggesting that the protagonist has a more prominent status in third-person stories, at least when (s)he is the only locally prominent character. Since the manipulation of narration type consisted in the absence/presence of first-person indexicals, these results suggest that at least when first-person indexicals are present, the speaker-narrator becomes more foregrounded and is more likely to serve as perspectival centre. This speaker preference is robust when the narrator is also explicitly mentioned as the experiencer of a perceiving eventuality (experiments 2, 3). 1e1e36bf2d