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Greimas's Narrative Grammar Author(s): Paul Ricoeur, Frank Collins and Paul Perron Source: New Literary History

, Vol. 20, No. 3, Greimassian Semiotics (Spring, 1989), pp. 581608 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/469355 . Accessed: 03/11/2013 05:15
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Greimas's NarrativeGrammar*
Paul Ricoeur

the wayitconstructs, degree by degree, the necessaryconditionsfornarrativity, froma logical model which starting is the least complex possible and which,initially, includes no chronoin The is the at all. question whether, logical import attemptto arrive at the structure of thosestorieswhichare in factproduced byoral and written the author, in the successiveadditions withwhich traditions, he enricheshis initialmodel, does indeed build upon the specifically of the initialmodel or whetherhis developnarrativecharacteristics mentincludesextrinsic Greimasbelievesthatdespite presuppositions. these additions to the initial model, an equivalence is maintained, frombeginningto end, between that initialmodel and the final matrix.The validity of thisbelief mustbe testedtheoretically and practhis will be the Here done at theoretical that is, by follevel, tically. his the author as he constructs final model, step by step lowing withoutincludingexamples whichmightverify a posteriorithe fruitfulnessof the method. The question concerningthe equivalence betweenthe initialmodel and the finalmatrixcan be brokendown intoseveralstages,following the order the author himselfsets out in "l1ments d'une grammaire narrative." In the model we can identify four stages of narrativization: is at the level which the author calls fundamentalgramThe first mar, where he introduces for the firsttime the notion of "narrativization,"'this being somethingcontained withinthe fundamental grammar. The second is found as we move fromthe fundamentalgrammarto the "surface narrative grammar." Here the author introduces the notion of "doing," then those of "wantingto do" and "being able to do." On these he bases the notion of "narrativeutterance." We find the thirdin the course of the developmentof the surface
* This narrative de Greimas, in Actesstmiotiquesessay firstappeared as La grammaire is authorized by Actes 15 (1980) ; this translation Documents, simiotiques-Documents.

WHAT

IS INTERESTING

is grammar narrative about Greimas's

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155." The fourth is found in the furtherdevelopment of the surface grammar. (3) "narrativeunit" or "performance".33 on Sun. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . At each stage the question is whether equivalence to the initial model is maintained-that is. and so on). by some linguistic or even by a nonlinguistic substance (painting. making the deep structure apparent.These tworequirements We must say rightaway that the second requirementintroducesthe that it.(4) "performanceseries. This simple presentationof the skeletaloutline of the author's arused to gument gives an idea of the rigorous and fine distinctions the distance between what the author calls "fundabridge gradually mentalab quo instances"and "finalad queminstances. thatis. inminimal condition of narrativity-namely. making them explicitin such a way as to be theirmanifestation."2 The intellectual process we are going to describe here is.where the exchange structureprovides the author with a "topological" way of representingnarrative phenomena.a characteristic the phrasticstructure(that is. (2) "narrativeutterance".94. of units thatare much larger than utterance(whichis manifestedas dictatethesemiotic level of analysis. thatis. At the Fundamental Grammar Level: The FirstStage of "Narrativization" made of the initialmodel: We have to rememberthe requirements it must first be constructedat the so-called "immanent"level. a stage thatprecedes its"manifestation" substance. sentence)." These will now become the titlesof our four levels of descriptionand discussionof thisbody of theory. I.whetheror not the successivedegrees of narrativization are limitedto a developmentof the logical forces of the initialmodel alone.cinema.a process of mediation whose progressivestages mustbe understood before itsvalue isjudged. We musttherefore be veryattentive to such highly refineddistinctions the as: (1) "narrativization" taxonomic (of model)." taken to be an exemplary"narrativeunit. it mustbe constructed then it mustshow a discursive character. of its essence.3 This content downloaded from 146.as indeed is the case in the theoryof metaphor). Here we in have a reformulation of all the generativeoperationsof narrativity termsof transfer fromone place to another: the "performanceseries" thus obtained provide the semioticfoundationof the narrativestructure itself. from the predicativerelationship.582 NEW LITERARY HISTORY grammar. strictly speaking. of "composition"(to use Aristotle'sterm) of cludes a characteristic thatis not deducible from sentencesused in discourse. where a polemicalfactor is introduced which shapes the notion of "performance.

a relational What constitutes it is also what organizes it. in the "elementarystructure of signification. Treating relationsas operationsamounts to viewingsignification "as a graspingor a productionof meaning by the subject" (164).The mutual defining of its four poles presents an absolutely static network of relations. treatthe constituent relations of the taxonomicmodel as being Indeed.The operationstakingplace are transformations." This structure has to do withthe conditionsof graspingof meaning. syntaxis no more than a regulatingof these operoperations. If it is not because one mighthave something-anythingat all-signifies. This mustbe emphasized: semanticsis taxonomic.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 583 Thus the initialmodel mustfromthe outset presentan articulated ifindeed itis going to be able to be narrativized.It is a taxonomy. One just has to move from the morphologicalpoint of view to the syntactic one. some intuition as to whatitsignifies.any meaning.we prepare the way for the introductionof the key notion present.whose logical force is supposed to bring about all subsequent enrichmentof the model. that is.155. black. a systemof unorientedrelations.But one can representthe model dynamically. it makes a microuniverseof the unit of meaning. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .4This elementarystructure. The stroke character. "is capable of enabling meaning to signify" (162).that is. the author tellsus. of genius-and this is not too strong-is to have sought this already articulatednature in a logical structurethat is as simple as possible. but because one can lay out in the of relations:a relation wayan absolutelyelementary following system of contradiction-white/nonwhite. thatis. narrativization which occurs at thisso-calleddeep level.5 This content downloaded from 146. It is also microsystem."thiselementarystructure of signification gives us a semioticmodel whichallows us to explain the articulation of meaning withina semantic microuniverse"(161). It is what shapes all of the transformations we are now going to How does thisconstitutive model enter into narrativization? from Semantically speaking-or. More precisely. To understand primarynarrativization.syntaxhas to do withoperations. that is.we mustunderstandthe manner in which semanticsand syntaxare linked at thisverylevel. a relation between contrariesand one of implicationor presupposition-nonwhite/ white/black.33 on Sun.will allow for the "manipulation" of meaning. thatis. By so saying. The constitutivemodel is semanticin that what it structuresis a signification. to say the same thingdifferently. ations. subsequently.94. By semantic microuniverse let us agree that we refer to the capacity of a simple element of signification-the "seme"-to be part of the triple relation that we have just mentioned. what. In other words. Here we have the famous semiotic square. the pointof viewof morphology-the model is rigorously achronic.

one might wonder whetherthe hierarchyof these two levels does not a priori bringinto play relationsof anotherorder. showsitself I do not contest. the second by virtueof its exemplarystatus.6 Discussion Before moving from the deep grammar to the surface narrative grammar.Three questions are raised.one might ask if in fact this is a relation of the "immanent" (that is. as we shall see. of itsessence.155. thereis more in the idea of a subject "doing" thanthereis in "operation. The thirddeals withthe "narrativization" of thatmodel."and the transformation as oriented "conjunction. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." thisstage of the discussioninasmuchas it amounts to askingwhether or not the surfacegrammaris richerthan the deep grammarin terms of relationsand operations. the rightnessof reaching the semioticthrough the I do contestthe correctness of a procedure thatarticulates linguistic.584 NEW LITERARY HISTORY whichwillunderlieall subsequentdevelopmentsof the model."Nevertheless who is a producer of meaning alreadyunderlinesthe "dynamization" of the constitutive model which shapes that meaning.But giventhe extentto whichthe distinction between immanentstructure and manifestation bringsinto play the general relationsbetweenthesemiotic and the linguistic. by affirmation by negation "disjunction. the semioticbefore This way the semiotic and the linguistic precede each other: the first reciprocally by virtue of its general nature.let us pause to make a criticalcomment.94. The firsthas to do with the principle itselfby which a distinction is made betweena deep grammarand a surfacenarrative The second has to do withthe logical rigor of the constigrammar. 1. thatthe linguistic other semiotic and the paradigmwithin whichone can systems among discoverthe general characteristics of semioticsin general. contrarcan appear as transformations ies. thatis.33 on Sun.already noted by Saussure: order is at the same timeone semioticsystem thatis."If we view these transformations operations conditionof narrativity. tutivemodel. As for the general relation between fundamental (or deep) grammar and surface grammar."semic"(the binaryschema sl/non-sl). and presuppositions bywhicha given We willcall the transformation contentis negated and othersaffirmed.our threerelationsof contradictions. it articulatesthe linguistic." But. This is nothing we end up withthe primary more than the settinginto motionof the taxonomicmodel. Reformulated in termsof operations. as premanifestation) to the The complete answer to thisquestion cannot be given at "manifest. the notionof a "syntactic doing. Proof for this is found in the analysis of Greimas's constitutive model which to be. This content downloaded from 146.

But itcan happen thata semioticanalysismightalso be feigned. Let us be logical significance This content downloaded from 146.33 on Sun. analysis.94. the constraints and even more understandably thatitimposes upon semioticanalysis.theyare not establishedat the transphrastic not at a The does begin analysis point beyond utterance. establishesitsown criteria. If. it.at thelevel of a fundamental model is not discursivein the sense of discourse being a wider unit than utterance. What I mean is that the analysis. codified by happens when one interprets a priori. We note immediately thatall is based upon semicanalysis.We have thereforeto presuppose the existence of a homological arrangementof the infra-and supraphrasticstructures which is not thematically developed here. ifindeed not the norm-the constitutive semioticlevel and the specificcriteriafor narrativity which the folor comcan come togetherin a mixed lowing discussionwill identify.'and that certaindiscursivecharacteristics.the semioticand the linguistic precede each other according to different points of view. This requirementis rarelymet.8 It willalso be noted thatthe semicanalysishas to be completed first. of which is accurate an plex conceptual understanding narrativity of the complex relationship reflection accordingto whichthe semiotic each other fromdifferent and the linguistic mutuallyprecede points of view. or at least to have reached the stage at which it allows for a "limited of the semic categories"(161). semantics.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 585 This objection is not inconsequentialas far as narrativity is concerned. 2. But above all. As for the logical rigorof the constitutive model.operating in the contextof a preliminary narrative construct a priorithe semioticsquare intelligibility.shaped by a narrativeforce which a priori. the but within it. in myopinion. mightlegitimately (or squares) which structurethat text. as in the example of white inventory versus black.certainof the model's area according to models constructed well in requirements mighthave to be attenuatedin order to function subsequent applications. in fact.are perhaps those thatone would upon subsequent linguistic model that too rigid for what must subsequentlybe from a is expect in a given as often and.In thissense. while indeed thisanalysisidentifies which lend themselvesto being narrain the sense of articulations. it is possible that sometimesa semioticanalysis. itwillbe noted thatthe taxonomicmodel has a strictly onlyifitremainsa verypowerfulmodel. but reconstructed of the semioticapproach. mightbe not so much constructed in order to meet the demands insteadafterthe fact. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In this case.155. Finally-and thisis. the most model forthe frequentcase. semioticanalysis has a real heuristicvalue and reallycan show how the textshould be read. level as had been tivized. promised.

and presuppocontraries. that is. These constraints are entirely regulate dependent upon the force of the other two relationsbetween contradictions and contraries. if the relation of contrariesbea binarysemic categoryof the white tween s. theycould not sustain a true semicanalysisand cannotbe authenticated by pointingto theirresting on a binarysemic categoryof the whiteversus black type). If they were.quasi presuppositions. sitionsare what theyare only if contradiction no more than signifies the relation between s. the constitutive 3. But then nothingwould happen. one can justifiably doubt that all three conditions will be met rigorouslyin the area of narrativity. and non-s1. withinthe precise frameworkof a polar opposition between semes of the same category. In a case in whichthe relationsare too lated bythe constitutive attenuated.33 on Sun.There would be nothingto tell. What of the "narrativization" of the taxonomicmodel? It is supposed to be guaranteed by the factof one's movingfromthe idea of relation to that of operation. There would be no events. the relation of presupposition no longer holds. There would be no surprise. and S2 trulyconstitutes versus black type. At firstsight-and if one reads the "1llments d'une grammaire narrative"in the light of "Les jeux des contraintessemiotiques"primacyis given to morphologyin a reading which is avowedlyparbetween relaadigmatic.586 NEW LITERARY HISTORY clear: the threerelationsof contradictions. many structed from the relation of contradiction)are only analogous to contradictions. and finallyif the presuppositionof non-s1by S2 is trulypreceded by two relationsof contradictions and contraries whichobey the rigorousconditions just mentioned. Many of the "correlations" between two such "schemata" are weak contraries(thatis. the manipulationsof.94.too muchjust a factof analogy.which links non-sa to s2-which relation by the deixes.if not simplycounterfeiting. and point thatsome novelty model.One can suppose thatthe surfacegrammarwillmore oftenbe dealing in quasi contradictions. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . This is assuredlythe key point and is withinthe deep grammaritself.onlyin a case wherethesethreerequirements have not been weakened can we speak of the "unityof meaning" of the fourtermmodel and of the isotopyof the semanticmicrouniverse articumodel.As we shall of the author's "schemata" (so he calls the twosome consee. Now. quasi contraries. Finallyand above all-the crucial point for the proper functioningof the model has to do withthe kind of constraints-introduced constitutive the of presupposition.It is perhaps at this is included in the operations made upon. all subsequent operationswould have to be "predictableand calculable" (166). Therefore.The emphasis is thus not on the difference This content downloaded from 146. The unity of meaning is broken up and the isotopyvacillates.155.

or "termswithalready investedvalues" (164). It is thistransformation of investedcontentintoothercontent affirm.ending withthe narrative'scompleted project. misunderstoodthe narrative dimension of discourse.10 movingfromthe idea of relationto that of operation implies the need for wholesale additions to the taxonomic model which really change its nature and also give it an authentic chronological nature. a relationalmicrouniverse. In a case where the negation of you effectuate you have a relationof contradiction.the whole enterprise can be us to speak of narrativization? suspected of having. is it not true that these This content downloaded from 146. that plied simple when of equivalence loses itsmeaningin termsof reciprocalrelations.You change it intoitscontradictory. much more than reformulation.iforientationis To go even further. of a discursivenature--or at least an articulatedone. of itsessence.it is already the subject of a doing. For a reading thattakes more closelyinto account the shiftin emphasis seen between the "Contraintes"and the "'lements" (to which the author himselfattests). factor the of a equal footing. Since each case of signification constitutes in termsof operations appears to be no more than a reformulation networkarrangement. can and willbe asked at all levels: the finalpoint of an operation should be the next operation. of a syntactic doing which will prethe transition to a about ciselybring general doing.as we shall the transformations see. is.155. and formseries? Do these thingsallow these operationsto be oriented9 Even more. These additions are evident in the "l1ments" in the notion of "productionof meaning by the subject" (164). but one cannot understandhow an achronicmodel can containthe conditionsfor Is it enough for Is it enough to take relationsas operations? narrativity. whichyou then one of the terms. apif But is so then the notion to the taxonomic model.We thus have here on an Instead it is the introduction.although not isomorphic. we move frommorphologyto syntax. from the outset.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 587 but on the factthatthe constitutive model tionsand transformations. one mightask whetherthe what is important?12 construction of the taxonomic model was not guided by the idea of to be made to itsterms. This is in fact a process involving"already established terms" (164).33 on Sun.94. What subject?If it is not yetthe actantof surface grammar.relations:In what way are a stablerelationand itstransformation equivalent.The equivalence corollaryof thissignification betweenrelationsand operationsremainsunthreatened.This question. syntagmatic alongside paradigmaticfactor. And if the taxonomicmodel was constructedin view of the syntactic operations to be grafted onto it. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." It even loses itsstrict meaning in termsof isotopic. a centralpoint for all of the anthropomorphic meaningsof the story. There is thus a syntactic initiative thatconstitutes narrativization.

new specifications must be introduced at each stage in order to enhance the initial model. an intermediateplane between the strictly conceptual one we have been looking at.half denied.94. seeks to constructthe stages of the in the light of the end point of a given conditions for narrativity the first narrative. To meet the second demand. on the other hand. From the Fundamental Grammarto the Surface NarrativeGrammar: The NarrativeUtterance The decisive grammaticalshift is that which takes us from the "deep" or fundamental level to the level which Greimas calls "surface. The level that we are now going to concentrateupon is. This ambiguous nature is obvious even at the initialstage. a metalanguagelevel vis-a-vis language. I am inclined to thinkthat the enterprise. like the the figurative precedingone.155. II.33 on Sun. forceof the initialtaxonomicmodel in such a way as to elevate semiotics to the rank of a deductive science. where narrativizationappears to be the object of a reluctantrecognition. The distinctive featureof thislevel is the anthropomorphic representation of the operations described earlier. If one says "anthropothe notionof operation in termsof morphic"one means interpreting This content downloaded from 146. to all levelsof narrativization.in his view. the one at which actors accomplish tasks.To satisfy all additions to the model requirement. scarcelyavowed. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .frombeginning to end. undergo tests. must appear to be equivalent transformationsbetween isotopic metalanguages(167).reach goals.in a reverse process.588 NEW LITERARY HISTORY operations in turn become conditions for narrativity only retrospectively? This follows from their use in the narrative surface which appear grammar-where they are linked with characteristics and occur only in terms of phenomena unique to the surface grammar. The complex interplay of these two requirements the whole the gives ambiguous appearance of reducing enterprise narrativeto logic or of seeing narrativeas a surpassingof logic."even though it is still. the enterprise.itapplies. The discussionof "figurative" will come later. in an the logical unfoldingprocess.the difference between the superficialand figurative levels is difficult to describe. given itsultimateapplicationin termsof the end point of the narrative. For my part. Movement from one level to the other thus loses all its deductive nature. obeys a twofoldpostulate: on the one hand. and the strictly "figurative"one. Although the differencesbetween deep and surface structuresmay be easy to characterize.

This can be representedas NU = F(A). then you can see that thiswantingto do. That is. syntactic doing and doing the of an actant. we call the complete modal utteranceof the the mediation relation). utterancedevelops in a remarkableway.in Propp's sense. utterance any expressing doing Once this "isotopywithoutisomorphism"has been allowed (167).94.33 on Sun. "One can thus say thatany operation upon the deep grammar can be converted into a narrative utterance whose minimal canonic formis F(A)" (168). in semiotics. thatis. the equivalences upon which the entireenterprise restsare the homogeneitybetween syntactic operation and syntactic on the between the one and on hand.which we will from now on refer to as descriptiveutterances-those utterancesof the wantingto do form and those showingthe same formwhichwillbe presentedlater. operations to the extent that. as potentialoperatorsof doing. provides requiredto generatethe kindof This content downloaded from 146. other.155. toa tothat ofan operation (itself equivalent equivalent being doing. syntactic operations by are thus and negating and disjunction of affirming byconjunction orrecounting whether anaction ("Peter performing goesout") doing. If you consider thatthe complete utterance of the wantingto do is of the followingform: X wantsY to do. the narrative tion. and an actant.in turn.thus causing it to go throughthe successionof the possible. This utteranceis It expresses a process whicharticulatesa funcutterance. The the first in a series of "preof wanting in factconstitutes introduction which actantsas subdeterminedsemanticrestrictions" (168) identify jects.It modalizes it in the sense that it makes it possible. intoa comesintoplayonlywhentranscoded a doing("Petertells").GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 589 In other is an operation that is madespecific words. "doing.all all the doing of human activity. formulatedwithinthe left-hand side of the complete utterance. modalizes the narrative utterance which. As can be seen.So it is that the notion of a syntactic because rewritten as a syntactic doing.thereal.whichis syntactic were themselves Greimas adds the reformulated syntactic. To thisdoing.Thus we will call modal utterances-so that we can distinguishthem from simple narrativeutterances.and the necessarymodalities." "doing the addition of a human The classeme" (167). In a general way. it becomes an object of communicationcirculating between a sender and receiver. message.In the theory of the narrative a thoroughlyfelicitousway the author has the narrativeutterances doing and otherswhich spawn utteranceswhichdescribe an effective describe a wantingto do. to characterize utteranceneeded in order for the author legitimately a surface grammar as being a narrativegrammar. The narrativeutterance is itselfspecifiedas being a program which a subject wishes to carry out. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .becomes the object of the wanting.

the same actor both wantsand does. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .We ala that is immanent to doing itself. 1. .. We stillhave leftthose modal utterances of the form:(5) "X wantsto know (how to do ...94. know. ." is thattheirstructure allows foreverything to "Brutus killed Caesar on the Ides of March in the Roman Senate witha dagger.33 on Sun.. But can the same be said concerningthe order of discoveryon the level which. Does the logical level purely and simplyprecede the anthropomorphiclevel? This is true in termsof the order of the exposition.'3 One remarkablecharacteristic from"Socratesspeaks. ready concerning knowing that doing is the object of utteranceswhose structurediffersin esof the type"s is p.. . Then: (3) "X wants to have . Discussion of Discussion of the second segmentof the semioticreconstruction as the will follow the same order discussion of first the narrativity segment.." as it does sence fromthatof predicative utterances of the type"X is betweenY and Z.in myopinpart of a reader? It is the anthropomorphic of doing. (4) "X wants to be. carries all of the significations ficationare born of what I would call the semantics of action.)".). .. The general question concerningthe relationbetweendeep and surfacegrammarcan now be takenup in more detail."..." This content downloaded from 146.since it is neccertainly which"tranto introduce factorswhich"specify." Here. All these cases of signiion." essary determining scribein a more complex way" the operationsof the deep grammar.." In these of objects or values.. . At the end of this remarkablereconstruction of the typology of dethe author believes that he has kept scriptiveand modal utterances.. cases the object of the wantingis an attribution utterances(which will play a key role in We will speak of attributive the last phase in the constructionof the completed model) when dealing withutterancesof types (3) and (4).. (6) "X wants to be able (to do . . unitsof the surfacegrammar the equivalence betweenthe elementary of and those the deep grammar(172)..First:(2) "X constructs a seriesof model utterances wantsX to do." In thiscase.155.590 NEW LITERARY HISTORY followingtype a program: (1) "X wants Y to do." also fromthe relationalutterances This structureof the descriptiveutterance of action has been the object of precisestudyin analyticphilosophyand I give an account of to this in "La semantique de l'action" (in which I refer particularly of these utterances AnthonyKenny). the modal utterance is doubled to become a wantingto know how and a wantingto be able." Greimas next of the same form.

In thissense. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . This implicitphenomenologyis broughtto lightwhen "one can interpretthe modal utterancesas 'the desire to realize' a programwhichis presentin the formof a descriptiveutteranceand is at the same time part of. up characterizedby the knowinghow to and being able to modalities. virtuality doing.the typologyof wanting to do. is excellent. the modal utterance"(169). and of being able to want. It willbe remembered that it dealt with the relation between semiotics and and saw themin termsof a mutual precedence. it is implicatedin a veryspecificgrammarwhichanalyticphilosophy has developed with great sophisticationunder the name of intensional logic. presuppositions. it is the phenomenologyimplicitin the semanticsof action which gives meaning to Greimas's declaration that "modal utterances whichhave wantingas theirfunction set the subject as a of whereas the other two modal utterances. fromthe pointof viewof linguistics.33 on Sun. contraries. Nowhere is the specificity of the semanticsof action more evident than in the movement from utteranceson doing to utterances on being able to do. What makes it certain that wanting to do brings about doing? Nothingin the semioticsquare allows us to believe this. doing is substitutable forall verbsof action (as with the English to do) and is equated with them in the canonic formNU = F(A). of wanting to be. I therefore now make the above suggestionmore precise. of wantingto have. But if a special grammar is required to put into logical form the relations betweenmodal utterancesof the "wantingthat. One mightsay.155. .94.Here.But."thatwe have already moved from the anthropomorphic level to the figurative one (hence the quotation marksaround "desire to realize"). as an object. determinethis potentialdoing in two different ways: as a doing refrom how to or as one on being founded sulting knowing exclusively able to" (175). surfacegrammaris a mixed grammar: semiotic-praxic. of wanting to know." typeand descriptive utterancesof doing..Semantics of action offerus the principalsignifications of doing and the specificstructure forutterances whichreferto action.in termsof "desire. But can these two levels be distinmodal utterances?14 Can an utterance guished fromeach otherwithin withtwo actantswhich links a virtualsubject withan object which is itselfa doing in factutteranything else but desire? The author contradictshimselfwhen he again takes up the termdesire (withoutquotationmarksthistime)in order to account forthe structure of modal utterances:"the axis of desire whichlinks[the twoactants:the subject This content downloaded from 146. The semilinguistics oticsquare givesus itsnetwork of interdefined termsand itssystem of and contradictions. Furthermore.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 591 It is this semanticsof action which in fact is presupposed in the narrativeutterance.

a semantic of them and theobject] interpretation legitimizes. hence"the to do. discusses. syntactic logic above. and a value" as a virtual an set as (171). object up performing subject ifthefigurative humanor personified levelis "that at which Likewise. forall terms ofaction. reachgoals"(166). as we haveseen oftheanthropomorphic that of syntactic thenotion above. ity. given on wanting how to do. can be defined without and desireto realize" tasks.Here again.byitslogicalsimplicofthecategories ofthesurface thecomplexity grammar.and of knowing how and that of wanting." of from the semantics action. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .themeanings precedethesemiotic squareevenifthat square.whichpraxiology and so on).transcoded Whatcan concealtheparalogism withtwo arguits own into message. ments.33 on Sun.to the extentthatthe programshas not yetbeen polemical relationbetween contradictory This content downloaded from 146.one might actors tasks.'5 which ofconjunction and disjunction giveriseto affirmaoperations You without amtions and negations on thesemiotic cannot. ofbeingable to. submit to tests.16 rowing is thefact thatdoing. square. whichintensional studies.94.592 NEW LITERARY HISTORY in turn.has as guarantor doing. narydoingtranscoded have a certain Syntactic onlythe doingcan designate paralogism. order. tests. language.syntactic that one is saying it is utterances of are because specific doing trary. open specific grammar of doing. into a call transcoded message syntactic doing. But the syntax utterance. (a predicate syntax develops the verbal structure of the for tenses. This is why theutterance of is substituted that to syntactic which a doingcannotbe equivalent reformulates. in an anthropomorphic On the conoperations. doing biguity.a doingwhich to syntactic and to ordiis homogeneous simultaneously operations I fearthatin thisreasoning we intomessage.Evenin theexpression "syntactic doing. beingable to do. sensedefined doingin thestrict It is therefore betweenthe to findan equivalence verydifficult and theoperations ofaction structures used bythesemantics implied is thesimple narrative utterance bythesemiotic square. We can moveon to thenextpointand inquireintotheequivaof the conceptual orderand lence of the twometalanguages-that Thisequivalence. do not from derive to do. doing. ordinary The transcoding doing into an object operationwhichtransforms of communication does not prevent the a relation messagewithin from a which is not utterance precisely describing doing descriptive of a syntactic butis rather theformal term theequivalent operation. precedes 2.It is truethat stillan abstraction withinthe surfacegrammar. new when one as a reformulates something logicaloperations syntactheauthor is borticdoing. ofaction bythesemantics proffered goals.155. accomplish itincludes that utterances wonder iftheanthropomorphic level. knowing a program.

3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . logical to theNarrative Utterance III. representation bygiving therefore and resistance.leads us to a thirdobservation. to the are one these two conditions irreducible. decisively.between the logical and levels. Having reached the end of these two stages. in order to be narrative. to the extentthat the construction the author himselfhintsat thisisotopyat the level of syntactic doing. unitsof meaning thatare longer than a simple utterance. itself. If we examine doing.to the order of story. However. The preceding remarkconcerningthe abstractcharacterof the narrativeutterancein relation to the unfoldingnarrative. plot.155. from the outset he established. we see the following but not results: (1) we have set up two conditions for narrativity. (2) narrativity other: one is of a logicalorder. and even more. more precisely-and thiswill have consequences for between a that a confrontation our discussion-it is of contradiction subject sl and an antisubjects2 gives an anthropomorphicrepresen- of the semiotic the relations square theirtrulyanthropomorphic This content downloaded from 146. utterance of the (X does A) and of the modal descriptive qualifying utterance(X wants to do A).and theotherof a praxicorder.this bringsus. I construct a with a beginning. I willnot call the utterancesof these two is the factof typesnarrative. From theNarrative "Performance" Unit: wegive to ofthewhole a polemical schema.as the criteriafor the autonomous the requirementthat the lattercontain level of narrativestructures.94.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 593 introduced.by making referenceto the discontinuity.""7Greimas would probablyallow me this reservation.What theylack. which is introducedby doing and its syntax. the anthropomorphic 3.and thislattersets praxicconditionsetsa semantics is itselfnot unalloyed: phenomenowhose a intelligibility up syntax and linguistic. kind which of same in series of utterances the articulated a being a and an end.33 on Sun. Only this relation can give rise to series admittingof series of operations followingthe taxcomparison withthe syntactic onomic model. This is whywe mustpostpone the completediscussion concerningthe isotopyof the two metalanguagesto the thirdstage in of the complete model. we must oppose this hint. relationsof confrontation By introducing equivalent.of which This concernsthe narrative more later.This is based on ArthurDanto's definitionof "narrative since phrases. wantingto do and the other modalities. middle. (3) the of actionintoplay.However. together ratherthan narrative actionutterances willcall such simpleutterances utterances. But.

594 NEW LITERARY HISTORY tationpar excellence. but of wantingto do. successionof the type:confrontation We thus obtain a syntagmatic (NU1). This discussion will not dwell on the general relationshipbetweenthe deep and the surfacegrammars:since performancederives This content downloaded from 146. negation presents itselfas domination of a value-objectaccording to whetherthe utattribution (attribution terance is wantingto be or wantingto have).constitute and affirmation as mulation. appears as a "narrativeunit.According to thisnew refortogether. level.at the surface of the deep grammar"(175). and of being able to do (manifestedas real or magical power). in the reverse direction"(174). much thatwe should be able more than fromthe simplenarrative utterance.it is decided.94.according utterances Since narrative performance.Greimas of the relationsof sees thisequivalence at playbetweentheorientation the taxonomicschema and the relationof implicationby which NU3 (attribution) implies NU2 (domination)whichimplies NU1 (confronif the orientationfollows tation): "with. tions of content. in fact.It is.33 on Sun. This succession constitutes a unit of a syntactic nature which.nonetheless." Again we emphasize that what is here called "narrativeunit" is not the same utterance.in relationto the performanceseries (see below). we will have performancenot only of doing.it is the successionof transformaand presupposition. Nonetheless. attribution (NU3).18 This is whyit is fromthe complex makeup of performance.this difference.taken the narrativeunits. knowinghow to do (manifestedas ruse and trickery). of the logical affirmation Discussion 1. it is absolutelynecessaryto emphasize the complex and articulatedcharacterof the phenomenon which.along the axes of contrariety which then gives rise to a chain of narrativeutteranceswhich. It is this unit whichappropriatelycan be superimposed upon the interplay of taxonomic relationsand upon the interplay of disjunctionand conjunction operations.155.a syntactic unitin thingas the simplenarrative the sense that it is a unified syntagmatic succession. is oriented the order of the utterances implication NU---NU2--NU3. will be called can be of two kinds. domination (NU2). For the discussion of the equivalence between the two metalanguages. to whethertheyinvolvedoing or wantingto do (or the other modalities of doing). to read an equivalence between deep and surface grammar. Thanks to the equivalence between orientationand implicationwe can say that the final narrativeutterance of a performance-attribution-is "the equivalent. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .

suggest to cannot have contradiction. contrariety anthropomorphic spond representation.dubious. Confrontation and resistanceare figof actiontowardothers.a complementary representationof logical relaargument appears with the polemical tions.s2.of the semioticsquare. complements the idea of program with that of polemic. we have to say that perforunit of narmance.the logical and the anthropomorphic. to the extentthatit is the correlationbetweentwo schemata.155. four poles. Three remarks:(a) We are surprisedto read that confrontation is the anthropomorphicrepresentationof contradiction(thereforeat thelevel of each of the schematasl versusnon-s1and s2 versusnon-s2) and also that two subjects. withboth contrariety equivalence of confrontation And indeed thisstillrequires thatveryweak formsof contrariety be type. of a significant ures forthe orientation phenomenon whichMax Weber places at the head of the constitutive categories of his comprehensive sociology. in which the author sees "the most characteristic unit of the mixed rativesyntax"(173).21 2. knowinghow to do.possess an autonomous praxicsignificance. A character-logical and praxic---of to more important is evaluate the degree of equivalence that problem can subsistin thisalloy of logic and praxis whichwe see between the two metalanguages. Has the author confused spond to two contradictory It is unlikely.To fill this lack do we have to posit confrontation/ This seems to be contrariety alongside confrontation/contradiction? the case. non-s1.33 on Sun.94. non-s2. is also the most characteristic the whole of the narrativeorder.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 595 fromthe narrative all of thesemanticsof action. We can thusexpect thatthe equivalence willbe proportionately attenuated.sI and s2 (subject and antisubject)corredoings (172). 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Let us consider the reasoning upon which Greimas bases this equivalence.whetherat utterance. Indeed postulatedwhichare far removed fromthe white/black of semic categories" this is so and we are given a "limitedinventory (161). is found here.19Context or resistance of the orientationtowardothers which comes (Kampf)is a specifying into play later when the semanticsof social action are constructed. however. and being able to do. Nonetheless.thatis.for Greimas. This content downloaded from 146.20 To the extent that performance. But through thisattenuatingof the logical model allows only for establishingthe and contradiction. the level of doing or at the level of wantingto do. This representationbrings with it several new characteristics which. as we shall see) of the contradiction/contrariety type.before takingon a logical significance (which is. and Thus several hypotheses contradiction? contrariety if for confrontation themselves: does not correexample. sl. which allows for completion of the trajectory thereforecontrariety.

the semioticsquare exercisesa heuristicfunction which I happily admit. which are constitutive of performance. the equivalence is no narrativity longerjust weak. of the by virtueof the introduction This content downloaded from 146.596 NEW LITERARY HISTORY (b) This attenuationis particularly necessarywhen the author tries to establish a correspondence between the functionof attribution Let us come back to the semiotic (NU3) and instancesof affirmation. so felicitously mas at the root of narrativity.94. As to the strictly narrativetenor of the syntagmatic succession which articulatesperformance. If I now bringtogether thelastseriesof remarksconcerning(1) the mixed logical and praxic model and (2) the weakness of the equivalence between the two metalanguages. It is legitimate it is not at all like contrariety either. cannot take is a position place unless the accompanyingcontrariety And have not we seen that here strongcontrariety? just contrariety remained withouta determinatepolemic? (c) What is even more serious is that the chain of the narrative utterancesNUI. does not constitute a chain of implicationunless. I would say thatit is superior to that of the simplenarrativeutterance.we can expect two kinds of resultsfromthe correspondencebetweenthe logical propertiesof the semioticsquare and the praxic categorieswhich are the most determined bythe polemicalnatureof action. Opposing a subject to an antisubjectdoes not set up an opto fear that positionbetweentwocontradictory doings. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Does thisnot amount to an admissionthatthecorrespondencebetweenthe relationsthatare internalto performance and those thatare internal to the taxonomic model does not apply to the very condition for as engendered by the model? Here. 3.To theextentthatthe logical in the reading model. denBegriff dernegativen in die Wetweisheit to be to contrairreducible einzufiihren.33 on Sun. retainsa certainpriority of a narrativetext. introduced by GreiIndeed. even when weakened. is the one which posits s2 throughpresquare: the finalaffirmation But have we not already said that presupsupposition from non-sI. was necessaryfor the narrativization of the taxonomic model.155. Gr6ssen diction. However. orientation Now. into brings play a type of negativity which Kant was the first to show.you reversethe order of the utterances and thereby move fromattribution to dominationand confrontation. to the extentthat the praxic relationsof a strictly polemical nature escape logical contradiction representation-even logical contrarietyrepresentation-the semiotic square runs the riskof being reduced to a presentationalartificeby which the semioticianconformshis readings. after the fact. NU2. in his Versuch. the notion of polemic. to his models. It is forced. NU3. as the author himselfadmits.

155. This is whyhe. but only if we emphasize that crostory? this oriented succession presents relationswhich are inverse to the relationof implicationwhich alone can legitimizethe statementthat at NU3 "is the equivalent.However. constitutesof itselfa midomination.Will we nevertheless succession say thatthe syntagmatic of confrontation. To reformulate in termsof attribution acquires object could one that a what another say subject acquires exchange. The general advantage of thisreformulation is thatit permitsone to representall the previous operations as changes of "place"-the In other words.It is only at this stage that the narrativegrammaris complete (or.it corresponds to initialand final places of transfers. performancestilldoes not go beyond the The author admits this: it is stage of the conditionsfor narrativity. Attribution can thus be broken down into two operations: deprivation.at the surfacelevel. This reformulation-thelast one proposed by the author-leads to the notion of the performanceseries. he is able to constitute the complete set of conditionsfor story. that onlywiththe performanceseries.the anthrothe categoryof pomorphic doublet of the relationof contradiction. designatesperformance by the term narrative unit. Here is how this new structureis applied to the previous system. borrowed from the communication schema or more generally transfer from the structureof exchange. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .attribution We can withoutdoubt say so.We pointed out that the last of the three narrativeutteranceswhich constitutedperformancecould be utterance.whichis equivalentto disjunction. as we shall see. an abbreviated form for the seriesof performances.according to which a subject expressed as an attributive an or a value. of logical affirmation the deep grammar level" (175). almostcomplete). and an attribution proper. quite properly. of which a story can be born. Now it is preciselyin this inverse relation of implicationthat something new happens. IV.the richnessof this topological syntaxcan be observed as the topological analysis is carried out at the two levels of doing and wantingto do. which is equivalent to a conjunction.whichwe willspeak of shortly.33 on Sun. If one firstof all considers only value-objects. subject is deprived of. a topological syntaxof translative utterances." Such a seriescan be seen as the "syntagmatic formalframework of everynarrative. The Last Stage: The PerformanceSeries Greimas'sfinalstrokeof inspiration is to complete the constitution of his narrativemodel by adding the polemical category.In turn.94.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 597 polemic factor.acquired or trans- This content downloaded from 146.

3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Separating the topological syntaxthereforecorresponds to separating doing and wanting (being able to do. then the topological syntaxenables us to represent the ordered seriesof operationson the semioticsquare along the lines of contradiction.or dividing them into two series of performances: acquisitionthen corresponds to transfer.22 receivers of the transfer. If one wishes to knowwhere the first actantcomes from. The last stage of the completedconstituent model enables us to raise for the last time the general question of the mixed naturelogical and praxic--ofthismodel. in the exchange schema. In otherwords. performance The "completednarrative" of (180) combinesthe seriesof transfers with the series of transfers the or value-objects instituting "knowing" "able" subject. the knowing. mission values.94.598 NEW LITERARY HISTORY ferredby doing. the senders/ operators. as being able. Lack and deprivationare categoriesthe nature of whichbecomes manifest anthropomorphic only if one con- This content downloaded from 146. and therefore of operates the transfers the values consideredabove. to dividingnarrativeutterancesinto descriptive and modal utterances. knowing to do)corresponds.it is necessaryto evoke the contract whichinstitutes the subjectof desire byattributing to him the of The narrative in which the wantmodality wanting. If one now considers no longer only the operations. and presuppositionas a circular transcontrariety.thatis.and wanting. The new addition to be considered is the transfer to by whicha subjectis deprived of what is attributed another.Now anyone can see thatto deprive and to give signify more than to disjoinand to conjoin. the wantingto do). bearing either on object-valuesor on modal values (acquiringthe being able. Discussion 1.in operators mustbe instituted order in turnfortransfers of value-objects to take place. The second seriesof performances is the mostimportant one from the point of view of the activationof the syntactic The trajectory.33 on Sun. then the topological syntaxregulates the transfer of the capacityto do.it regulatesthe institution proper of the syntactic operators by creatingsubjects endowed with the virtuality of doing. can One without hesitation that this of say topological is the true motivation of narrationas the creative syntaxof transfers process of values (178).but the that is to say.155. knowing. specific unity of the or "able" is constitutes the first ing "knowing" subject posited of the narrative.

Consequently. The operative value cannot thereforecome exclubut also. The topologicallanguage of and thislast phase is thusa mixtureof logical conjunction/disjunction modifications whichhappen not onlyin the practicalfield.but also in the pathetic one.as was so wellshownbyClaude Bremond in Logiquedu recit. from from the logical aspects of attribution. d2 d2 d.In fact. rests on the correlation25 between the two schemata (d.places where theycan be brought or fromwhere theycan be taken" (176). or whether it is an artificeof exposition in relationship to interplay of the pathico-praxic categories.155.33 on Sun.d2 versus non-d2): d. in turn. it is thisimplicitphenomenologywhich permitsGreimas to write:"actantsare conceived no longer as operators."2. toand acting:"We define as playrelationshipbetween being subjected ing the role of patienteveryperson which the narrativepresentsas being affectedin one way or another by the course of the events narrated.24 2.What the last stage of the constitution in which notions fore adds is a phenomenologyof suffering-acting.The callyprecedes thatof any modification deprivationof a value-object.94.it is and the relation of presupposition which non-dl---d2) (non-d2---dI This content downloaded from 146. As far as I am concerned. This opposition is whatcreates spatial heterotopy. in the topological syntax of the transfers. This compositenature of the topologicalsyntaxresultsin a new weakeningof the equivalence between logical metalanguage and anmetalanguage. such as deprivationand donation take on meaning. now the circulartransmission values. just as the author attemptedto thropomorphic link the polemical values of narrativity solely to the relation of conof tradictionof the taxonomicmodel.but as places where value-objects can be situated. versus non-d1. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .and the attribution of thissame object to another subjectare modifications affecting of the model therea patient.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 599 the siders. The notion of a patient affectedby a certain state logi(or conservation)of state.sufferedby a subject. sively acthe topological syntaxand the semanticsof acting and suffering heuristo whether the an topologicalsyntaxplays effectively cording tic role in the reading of the text.

engenders are the matrixof the weak logical operations and relations.94. linked by the relation of presupposition" (177). teristicof logical constraint. indeed analogical. When correlation moves away from moves away from strong contrariety. if it is true thatthe topoThis conclusion should not be surprising in conjunctionwiththe of which functions the transfers. inadequate in relationship insofaras correlaThis gap becomes obvious at the level of transfer. is more evidentwhen being able to. tionand presuppositionmove awayfromthe stronglogical model and and the newof deprivationand attribution express the dissymmetry The natureof newnesslinkedto attribution nessproper to attribution.600 NEW LITERARY HISTORY bears the entirelogicalweightof the topologicalapparatus.whichin were "predictableand calculable" (166). logical syntax of of the semiotic the square.insofaras. to creativity. (non-d2--d the criticalpoint whichfromthe beginningseems to have constituted of thisentirelogical system.withoutthe correlationof roles being reduced to Now if the correlationis reduced to a weak contratheircontrariety. to the taxonomicframework "process creating values"? Of necessity. coupled of this which the schematization dianoia and these mythoi. the places occupied or attained by the correbecause lated programsas "heterotopic spaceswhose deixes are disjoined. the and axes functioningof hypotactic non-d1---d2). 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Two schein various ways. How can this reduplication account forthe passage fromthe syntactic operations.The word "institution"-inthe expression "institution syntactic operators"-is not too strongto express the newnessin "the This content downloaded from 146.Greimascharacterizes. The mata. All sortsof modifications can affecta state. lackingcategoricalunity(as of the heterotopic it is the unityof plotwhichensures the "conformity conform to what Aristotle do conform? To what They they spaces"? of narrative.155. then presuppositionin turnloses its characriety.33 on Sun.and justly so.That is not to say that correlationand presuppositionbecome relationsemptyof all meaning. have only a narrative content.logicitymust somehow be whichcharacterizes narrative. in of the case the polar termsblack/white).whichis rarely borne out in the praxic and patheticorder. two programs can in fact be correlated only if logical projectionof thiscorrelationcan be called contrariety the termsare in the same relationas black and white. "organizes trajectory logical operations narrationas a process creatingvalues" (178).In this vein. conformity now say thatthe Must not one strongpresupposition(or implication).correlativeto the mythos is systematically Northrop Frye remarksthat the typologyof mythos It of of is the a with history culture which typology dianoia. knowinghow to. and wantingto of the doing-is granted the do-that is to say. the actual virtuality of the subject. calls the dianoia.but conformal. since theyare theydo not belong to the same schemata.

But how far is thisapproximationfromwhat constitutes narrativeproper. We already alluded to the contractby which the firstactant is into a subject of desire. to of the of the modal values added those objective topologicalsyntax values? That the terminalmodel constitutesthe most rigorous approximationof the narrativestructurepermittedby the method is undeniable.Dionly one categoryof narratives. thatis to say.and which correspond to the initial and final sequences of the manifestnarrative"(181)." of the syntactic units which the examination and the establishment frame narrative."is body proper of narrative. carried off by the villain who transfersher elsewhere to hide her. where all the relationscompensate forone another. the part "dealing withthe "What is missingin thissketch.wherethe circulation The king's daughter. is found by the hero and broughtback to her Greimashimselfadmitsthatthe most Semantics.followed between the two actants..that is to say." (179).155.The closingof narraby a spatial disjunction tivewould be marked.on the contrary.94. where new values are produced. are these sequences not as essential to plot as opening and closing? It is true that the superficialgrammar has the potentialto describe its own inadequacies. 3. of . which the textis racked.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 601 of the contract the subjectof desire throughthe attribution instituting . the author himselfsuggestsat the end of his essay thathe has sketchedout the main pointof "onlypart" of the superficialnarrativesyntax. "crises"and "conclusion"! verse are the waysin whichplot articulates And diverse are the waysin whichthe hero (or antihero)is modified in the course of the intrigue!Is iteven certainthateverynarrative can be projected onto this teleological matrix. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .33 on Sun. Now we know.having two programs. There remainsthe question of confidence:are the conditionsof and the once the syntactic operatorsare instituted narrativity complete.thanksto the schematization characterizes by the cultureswe have inherited. is masked by the particularcase of Propp's Russian folkof values ends up restoring the initialstate. tales.that this restoration and even probablyof folktales.and the finalschema. modality wanting This gap between the initialschema. a polemical relation and a transferof values? Although this methodological a priorican help the reader respect the textand discover its it also risks becoming the Procrustean bed on hidden articulations. We can add that "the opening of instituted of a conjunctive narrativewould be representedas the establishment contractualrelationbetweena sender and a receiversubject. by a spatial conjunctionand a This content downloaded from 146. Now." he says. parents! In Structural general functionof narrativeis to reestablishan order of threatened of plots produced values. fromplot? With exemplarylucidity.

Why then have these characteristics the surface grammar and why are they attributedto a lack in the the difficulty when he observesthat sketch?The authorcircumscribes these framingsequences correspond to "what are.it is This content downloaded from 146. of the enrichment then one noticesthateach step forwardon the syntagmatic axis corresponds to (and is defined by) a topological displacement on the paradigmaticaxis" (25).if not relationsof presuppositionwhose weak logicalitywas demonstratedeverytime the relationof contrariety completin thesemioticsquare was weakened? ing the relationof contradiction Does the criticalpoint revealed by the incompletenessof the sketch not correspond to the criticalpoint in the logical structureof the sketchitself?. ferrichnessto the apparatus? In an "Interview" publishedby Fr6d6ric Nef.602 NEW LITERARY HISTORY of values.94. of new semantico-syntactic compoadditionof figurativity) nents(anthropomorphic conrepresentation. This technicaldiscussionshowshow difficult itis. at the level of the relationsof the taxonomicmodel.as we attemptedto demonstrate.fromone Greimas'sattempt of level the semiotic model to another. The author's intention is never in doubt: to find for each new syntagmatic addition a paradigmaticequivalent. to the relationswhich can be establishedin the model between the terms sI and non-s2 on the one hand. The fundamental question raised by is relatedto the natureof the generation. and between the termsS2 and non-sl on the other" (181). whichcan be eitherobjectiveor modal" (181distribution not been incorporated into 82).155. no matter how it seems at first. Does the stratification deep into levels of depth functionas the extensioninto each new stage of does the initialvirtuesof the taxonomicmodel? Or. To raise the question in somewhatdifferent one mustask how the paradigmaticand terms. what are these hypotacticrelations. that deep grammar. instituting a new contractby means of a new last transfer of values. on the contrary. the introduction.at each level. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In thissame interview considers narrativefromits syntagmatic perspectivewhere each narrativeprogram appears as a process made up of the acquisitionand and the impoverishment of subjects.as long as the proceduresof conversion level to another have not been elaborated" (24).on the basis of the and calculable" (166) syntactic "predictable operations. Greimas admits that "a theoreticalapparatus. that is to say.to derive the which of transfer "organize narrationas a protopologicaloperations cess creating values" (178). loss of values. Now. But if. could easily remain hypothetical as long satisfactory as the problemof equivalences betweenvarious levels of depth has not fromone been clearlyposited.33 on Sun. the syntagmatic are equated in Greimas'smodel. to extend the "squaring" of Greimas declares: "If one now everyprocess.the hypotactic is to say.

Thus the topologicaltrajectory simplyexplicatesthe prinof narrative discourse. To recognize the mixed nature of Greimas's model is not at all to it is to clarify the conditionsof its applicarefuteit: on the contrary. then the innovativepower is and not in the initial investments situated in these praxico-pathetic taxonomicmodel.94. tion and to explain to readers of works stemmingfrom this school why the semiotic square sometimes seems to have a true heuristic This content downloaded from 146. the series of utterancesof stateare organized and manipulated by utterances of doing and by the transforming subjectswhich are inscribed there" (26). should the prioritiesnot be switched transformations are linked about? In the same way thatthe syntactic are linked to the morphologicalrelationsand the polemicalstructures should it not be admitted that the to the syntactic transformations.33 on Sun. only if together the understanding we have of the narrativeand of the plot establishesthe necessaryadditions of a dewhichthe taxonomicmodel would order without cidedlysyntagmatic remain inertand sterile. communications that can be represented as disjunctionsand conjunctions"(25). and on the other praxico-pathetic. Greimas's topological preoccupations can be seen as an ultimate attemptto extend the paradigmaticas faras possible into the heartof Nowhere else does the author feel thathe is closer to the syntagmatic. of narrativity introduced at each new level and pushed on to the followingone. of making linguisticsan algebra of language: the dream realizing circulation can thusbe considered as the resultof the "The figurative conversionof communications.Just as the taxonomic square must not be considered simplyas a place where logical operations happen. But. once again.then of praxico-pathetic pressure first categories of polemics and exchange. throughuse of disjunctions statewhich only give a staticrepresentationof a series of narrative states of the narrative. under the of all of a semanticsof action. value objects passing fromone subject to another. topological displacementsin turn are linked to the simple represenof the paradigmaticaxes? tationof the statesat the extremities In conclusion. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Greimas can of the structure polemical ciple axis correthen declare that "each step forwardon the syntagmatic is a on the to defined (and by) displacement paradigmatic sponds axis" (25). straint. syntax. The authoralmostadmitsas much in the verysame interview:"However it is only a question there of a manipulatory of utterancesof and conjunctions.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 603 true that a syntagmatic newness appeared at each level.Greimas's model seems to be bound by a dual conon the one hand logical. taking place according to a predictable order.155. of the components thatof the inscription But itcan satisfy the former.

etc.at the same time genarticulations complementary eral and fundamental. 4 "The constitutive model is. encounteringon itsway constraints to whichit mustsubmit.33 on Sun. I. the productionof utterancesand theircombinationinto discourse. where semanticsubstancetakes on its first articulations and constitutes itssignifying where signification is form.or rather Apuleus's.94.Next. The difficulties less erased in the axiomaticpresentations of 1968 and 1969.first of all. 5 For the reader of the "16Cments d'une grammairenarrative. as well as choices which it can make.as form.p.155. p. 135.and the last instancesad quem. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." the representation of the semioticsquare in its purelymorphologicalform. the case when one attemptsto reconstitute the stages of the constitution of the model Semantics (1966). 164."in Du sens. one must thinkof semiotic theoryin such a way that between the fundamentalinstancesab quo. by takinginto account "Les jeux des conby Greimas since Structural traintes overcome. Greimas wrote: "Perhaps out of a desire for we can imaginethatthe human mind. E. henceforth. can only be reconstructed if one compares the Greimassiansquare withits logical and linguistic ancestorsand if one measures the distance separatingit fromitsantecedents. mythical. of significaonly the elementarystructure tion utilized. This is not tionswhichintroducethe first conceptof narrativization. the latteris concerned withpropositions(labeled A. translations are myown-Tr. pictorial. it is relayed.the tracesof whichare more or s6miotiques"(1968). whereas the square: first.but according to the praxico-pathetic component of the mixed model.Hence the quality (affirmation-negation). This content downloaded from 146." See Algirdas Julien Greimas." (Paris. of cultural objects (literary.thus independent of the operaseems transparent.) startswith simple elements and followsa complex course. the oppositions in Apuleus's square reston the choice of two pertinentfeaturesof the propositions:the and the quantity (universal-particular). 3 "In other words: the generationof signification does not pass through. A year earlier. by the narrative articulatedby means of utterances"(161). 2 "To do this. of articulateddiscourseswould be commandingthe institution worked out" (159--60). less elucidatingbut sometimescorresponds to a more or less forced understandingof narrativewhichproceeds not according to the logical component. Here and elsewhere. unless sbniotiques otherwisenoted.It is first of all clear that the semiotic square has nothing in common with Aristotle's."'l1ments d'une grammairenarrative. manifestedthrough its multiple languages. (Translated byFrankCollinsand Paul Perron) NOTES PARIS in Du sens:Essais 1 AlgirdasJulien Greimas.in order to achieve the construction intelligibility.in its structures and it is these thatproduce meaningful discourse trajectory.to articulatethe semanticsubstanceof a microuniverse" (161). level at which Greimas operates is thatof the analysisof signification into semes-that is to say. O).604 NEWLITERARYHISTORY whichcan be more or value. hereaftercited in text. and sometimesto be simpletranscription.into unitswhichare to lexemes whatdistinctive featuresare to phonemes (this is the main featurelinking"Les jeux des contraintess6miotiques"and the "'lments d'une grammaire narrative" with StructuralSemantics). "Les jeux des contraintess6miotiques. a vast area must be set up in which a instance is establishedwhere semioticstructures mediating havingan autonomous status would be situated-the narrativestructure would be part of these-a place where the of contentand a sortof grammar. 1970).

non-sl.GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 605 as the complete opposition between the universal afmeaning given to contradiction firmative as the partialopposition (I) and the universalnegative(E). whitecircle.and a vs. the distinction betweencontradiction and contrariety. the semiotic square is not derived fromBlanche's hexagon. As forthe Piaget group. 28-33. whitecircle. In spite of the fact that Piaget's group operates with lexicallyperceived objects.p.) The true filiation mustbe sought elsewhere." in Structures withGreimas throwsno new p. performatoire. But it is also in features. nonmarked). esp. (manifestingthe homologous terms on the deixis). whitesquare) and inversion(black square vs. a vs.(For a further development of this. contradictory. but one must abandon the Saussurean level of sign for thatof seme. black circle vs. In particular. white vs. see Fr6d6ricNef. 49-55. 21. -a. This is no longer the case in "'lments d'une grammairenarrative. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .black circlevs.proposed by Nef between Greimas and Jakobson are. and homology. and especiallyepistemology.whereas for Greimas the basis of the constructionis the semanticaxis linkingthe semes.in whichone is the contrary can oppose them as poles.whitecircle). and the relationsof contrariety and contradiction operationsis oftengivento relations. thisfiliation thatthe difficulties adumbratedbyGreimas'sdidacticexpositions restoring it is verydifficult to make contrariety and contradiction accordappear. low. For the same reasons. Here one encountersthe linguistBrondal's the role of opposition in Lvi-Strauss's theoryof myth. Contradictionis thereforea totalinversion(black square vs. It is onlyon the syntactical level and homologous terms. are immediately labeled disjunctionand conjunction(137). contradiction and contrariety are not distinguishedon thisbasis. of negation/assertion terms on the (manifesting of implication/presupposition schemata).94.but withpredicatesbelonging to the same categoryof thought. the contrary thatone can speak about the operations of negation/assertion (manifesting the contradictory termsof the axis)." in Du sens. [Brussels. AB.33 on Sun.but these predicates are lexicalized terms. Of course. whitesquare. 129: that is to say. in turn. 68-69. J. the latteris concerned not withpropositions. black circle. as in Apuleus's square.thus betweenmorphologyand syntax. etc. consequentlyas polar qualities of the same category (of the type high vs. white square) and contrariety is a partial opposition (black square vs. non-s2 as semes are simpleterms. On this point the interview ftlmentaires. Fr6d6ric Nef et al. ing to Greimas correspond to one or other ofJakobson'sbinaryoppositions. Mldmentaires. For Greimas. From two thingsone can thusderive the relation:AB. since sl. is founded on the dual natureof theopposed terms(black square. 20-21. "Entretienavec A. AB. its double termsdo correspondto Greimas'ssemicopposition.far fromconvincing. see Structures de la signification. 15. 9-17. Will the rigorousconditionsof thispolar opposition betweensemes always be respected in the of the constitutive course of the successiveinvestments model? 6 In "Les jeux des contraintess6miotiques. light." ilmentaires. "Pr6sentation.in particular those referredto byGreimasin "La mythologie compar6e. black)."in Structures p. s2. whitesquare. as the extremesof a graded series. Greimas. AB. pp.see Fr6d6ric Nef."Rigor now demands that morphologybe the domain of relations of contrariety. the psychologicalapplication of Klein's group.155. This content downloaded from 146. "Complexification et carr6 in Structures pp. In fact what does contrariety between sl and s2 mean? It of the otheronlyif one opposes twoequally positivesemes. elfmentaires of the semioticsquare 1976]. tion of contrary. where -a is the negation of a.One mustbegin withSaussure's thesisthata sign is defined by its differencewith other signs in the same system."the distinctionbetween relations and is not worked out: thus the name of operations.as well as of the nocontradiction. and to contrariety between the universal affirmative (I) and the particular negative (0).). The equivalences. hereaftercited in text. For further discussion see Georges Combet. this is the decisive stage-binary oppositionsapplied on the phonological level by Jakobson to distinctive thus to unitsof the subphonematiclevel. ed. non-a (marked vs.or ratherthe comparisons.

155. and Combet. 41. but he does so only in order to deny that the Apulean square is in any way productive (41). 15. Greimas in a way increases the initialgap betweenlogical oppositionand semioticsquare.see "Les jeux des in Nef.or the relationsin terms of the operations: "In relationshipto the 'Contraintes." 68-69.). must be followed by a new operation of presuppositiongivingrise and conjoiningto the term non-sl the new terms2" (165). Here linguistics structure is the paradigm of formalizethe elementary semiotics.in negating. reproduced in Roland Barthes et al. 8 The postulation of this homology is characteristicof structuralism."he says.pp. etc. 1.forexample.the 'Ilements' attemptto make explicitthe operations the (22). contraintes. 9 One should remark Greimas's hesitationconcerning the relation of implication: "If the existenceof thistypeof relationseems undeniable. And nonethelessremainstruethatitis within Greimas characterizesas "universalsof language" (162) the categories necessary to of signification." CommunicaBarthes clearlysays in his "IntroductionAl'analyse structurale du ricit(Paris. as Roland des r6cits. n. Thus.Alain de Lib(ra. 8 (1966)."thus "calculable. 9) thatof the relation of presupwhich. in "Note sur This content downloaded from 146.on thispoint"Pr6sentation. above.'which only raises the problem of the narrativestates. Alain de Lib(ra. It is said that one must radically distinguishthe in inscriblogical square fromthe semioticsquare: "There is not (in fact)contradiction ing at the same timesl and -s1. pp. Cf. position: "the operation of contradiction posits at the same time the term non-sl.We willnot raise the issue here since tion (sl--non-s2 or non-s2--*sl) its solution is not necessary for the rest of the demonstration". J. p.the commentatordenies that thought founded on disjunctioncan have the virtueof a foundinga priori: "Disjunction. S1 is a term(seme). Greimas.. 37. Going further. Can the operation be at the same time "predictable. place withinthe framework 11 Again." (166) and "new"? in Fr6d6ricNef's work suggestthatby thus puttingthe main 12 The commentators accent on the operationsof transformation. n. "La semiotique in Structures d'Aristote. 10 In the "Entretienavec A. the terms l." p..606 NEW LITERARY HISTORY 7 I will not raise again the issue thatsemioticsand linguistics are in a relationshipof Greimas is correct to say that his semioticsis based on a "fundamental reciprocity.33 on Sun. 10-13. or again: the illocutionary negationof thisterm"(53). destroysE. fromthe semanticsof manifestation in linguistics" semanticswhichis different (160).94. Hence the phenomenon of narrativization can be conceived as "a series of logicallyoriented operations taking anticipatedby the semioticsquare" (22). the contraries:who proves A." it seems that in the eyes of the author himselfthe operations must be stressedratherthan the relations. but who destroysA does not prove E.p. "is the stabilizing operator of formsnecessaryforany ontologyand for any idealist thought" (47).in the syntactic giving rise to narrativizations" interpretation is producedby a dominant question remains that of "representinghow signification series of operationscreatingdifferentiated positions"(22). the criticalpoint remains (cf. FollowingUtaker. Poetique tions. etc." Mlfmentaires. begins by statingthatApuleus's square was already more than a simple pedagogical device insofar as it engendered a series of permittedoperations (concerningthe contradiction couples: who refutesE proves I. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 1977). A littlefurther on: "In factwithGreimas (as withLUvi-Strauss) contradictionmust be understoodin theHegeliansense" (53). "logical disjunctionborne by the verb to be is the inaugural exteriorwhich remustone now turnto Hegel presses all dialectic"(48). They are not on the same level. 3-4. It the latterthatitis effectively constructed. -sl is an operation on the term(sl). the problem of its orientais not yetsettled. Turning one's back to Aristotle to give meaning to a productiveopposition? This is suggested by de Libtra when he compares Jakobson and Greimas. Consequently.

To substitute doing for all action verbsis not to transform doing.it is unit of narrativesyntax"(173). 20 See Weber. 1973). besides its syntagmatic unravmultiplication (24). 16 This could have been foreseen: already at the deep level. must be constructedindependentlyfrom a syntax 22 "That is.94. in short it has been narrativized beforehand. The example. Greimas insiststhatthe polemic structure of narrativeis what 21 In the "Entretien.an antiprogramto a program. Ricoeur. und Gesellschaft. is not valid. 3-137. Emotion of de l'action see Paul action. see Nef. losophy Simantique 14 Greimas proposes the following example of a wantingwhichwould be anthropo"thisrule requires that .tales.) secretly (quest. 15 The paralogism is the following:"narrativeutterancesare syntactic utterances. But is this logic Aristotelian. But one can also say the ineling. or . ture ensures the infiltration of the paradigmaticorder into all syntagmatic order: "It is not surprisingthen that the analysis of even slightly texts necessitates the complex of the actantialpositionsand so reveals. 18 The resultis "the construction of a particularnarrativeunit.Action. In the "Entretien."in Structures the ilimentaires. thatis to say independent of contentwhichcan be investedby such and such a doing" them into a syntactic (168). a syntax of of operators This content downloaded from 146." (168)."Greimas shows "squarifications" interestin this attemptwhich accentuatesthe logical and deductive aspects of semiology. virtualnarrativization consisted in the factthat the dynamicrepresentation of the semioticsquare was considered as "a bringingtogetheror as the productionof meaning by the subject" (164). in Nef. The entire progress of fromlevel to level can appear in turn as the progressionof the para"squarification" or as the addition of new syntagmatic dimensions digm to the heartof the syntagmatic. 55. "Entretien.by even multiplying actantial squares by diThe polemic strucanatactant. 17 See ArthurDanto. (Paris.performance:due to the factthatit constitutes the operative schema of the transformation of contents.. ture of the finishednarrative..negactant. "Begriffdes Kampfes. vidingeveryactantintoactant. a generativestructure:all complex or neutral termsof any square can be taken at anotherlevel as the simple termgeneratinga new semiotic square. 1977). 22-24.33 on Sun.155. 67-72). And this projectionis in turn possible because the has been treated"as the place wherethe logical operationsare carriedout" square itself (26). pp. (Tiibingen. pp. etc. struggle." articulation of the taxonomic model permitsthe unravelingof the initialparadigmatic into the entiresyntagmatic (25)..GREIMAS'S NARRATIVE GRAMMAR 607 'On binaryopposition' de Arild Utaker. 20-21. and in a general way. pp.everydomain where an oppositionis 'negated' bythe productionof a new opposition which at the same time seems to reproduce and not to reproduce the original"(55). Analytical ofAction Philosophy (Cambridge. .negantactant."pp. finalizedby the dual paradigmaticand syntagmatic strucetc.Hegelian.. it morphicwithoutbeing figurative: seems to me. Here is where its applicabilityresides: myths. probablythe most characteristic 19 See Max Weber. Wirtschaft 5th ed. since the rule cannot preciselyfunctionas the virtualsubject of a possible action. 1963). On the analyticalphi13 AnthonyKenny."in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. the paradigmaticarticulationof narrativity" verse: It is because something naturebetweentwosubjectsthat happens of a conflictual one can project it onto the square. interprets semioticsquare as the dual interaction of the qualitativeopposition and the privative opposition: "One can thus consider the logical square as a logical apparatus which withqualitativeoppositions. 1972). The productivity produces privativeoppositions starting of the square makes it an open model. In the same vein. The obligationby the rule is of another statusthan wantingis. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . p. Nef's workcontainsvarious attemptsto engender one semiotic square from another one and thus to complexifythe model by a chain of (see Combet. other? and Will (London. By opposing an antisubjectto unfoldingof the narrative a subject.

This content downloaded from 146. 3 Nov 2013 05:15:38 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . it is the axis of exchange between the construction these two subjects which constitutesthe place of transferof the modal values. of the performance:"Consequently. but also seemed to permitan anthropomorphic interpreOn theotherhand.608 NEW LITERARY HISTORY a metasemiotic level must be worked out in order to justifythe transfer of operations: values" (178).155. 24 Is it for this reason that the author writesthat "a metasemioticlevel must be of values"? (see n.94. 1973). 23 Claude Br6mond.The latterwas explicitly the interpretation superimposed on the relationof contradiction. the of any modal value to sl presupposes thats2 is at the same time deprived attribution of thatvalue" (180).33 on Sun. worked out in order to justifythe transfer a doubt whichis the opposite of the one raised by 25 The reader can here formulate of the polemic category. 23 above).Logiquedu ricit(Paris. and thus to contrariety (176). topologicalsyntax. is then whichopposes the twosubjectss 1 and s2 foreseenby superimposedonto contradiction. related to the correlationbetween schemata. afterhavingbeen explicitly tationof contrariety.