James Phelan


This essay offers a rhetorical approach to un/reliable and defijicient narration by delineating the nature and effects of various relationships among authors, character narrators, and their audiences. It proposes, first, to account for the effects of reliable and unreliable narration by recognizing differences among subtypes of each and viewing these subtypes not as pairs of binary opposites but as points along a continuum from greatest unreliability to greatest reliability. The essay proposes, second, that unreliable narration is markedly different from deficient narration: the first is intentional and the second unintentional.