Posted by Susie on October 03, 1997 at 20:31:22:
In response to Barbar, written by Hil on October 02, 1997 at 06:06:49
] Barbar the Elephant and Madeleine jump to mind. I couldn't escape these! Maybe its more common in French writing? There is also a trend here for stand-up comedians to relate incidents in present tense.
I remember in French literature lessons at school the concept of the "historic present" tense as a device for making the narrative more immediate. Perhaps it does tend to sound more contrived in English, but there are examples of it in Jane Eyre (see encounter with Rochester in Chapter 22, and beginning of Chapter 23)and I think it does successfully lend a certain urgency and sense of excitement, that we don't know the outcome of what is happening, because the device implies that not even the omniscient narrator knows what is happening at this point. Very appropriate use of the device at this highly charged and passionate part of the novel.
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