Two books on the representation of consciousness in narrative have recently been published in the United States and the Netherlands (in a series devoted to French language and literature), The Emergence of Mind: Representations of Consciousness in Narrative Discourse in English (2011), a collection edited by David Herman, and La représentation de la vie psychique dans les récits factuels et fictionnels de l’époque classique (The Representation of Mental Life in Factual and Fictional Narratives in the Classical Period, 2015), coedited by Marc Hersant and Catherine Ramond, respectively. Reading them one after the other is an interesting experience, because there are numerous divergences, and these raise important questions concerning especially the relationship between narratology, or narrative theory, and history. This essay aims to deepen this experience and to offer a comparative analysis of the two books. The geographic and cultural backgrounds of the authors, the corpora they use, and the different analytic approaches and references all justify the interest of such a confrontation between the reflections of Herman and his collaborators and Hersant and Ramond’s team. This confrontation will also serve as an occasion to reflect on the stakes of these two practices of narratology or narrative theory.

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