Playing with Narratives: The Neverending Story in Written and Visual Form.
Wiedenmann, Erik T.
- To date, The Neverending Story (1979) by Michael Ende ranks as one of the all-time, best-selling children's books in Germany. An English-language movie adaptation (1984) was released several years later. The author himself took part in the early stages of production. Though initially enthusiastic about the project, he ultimately revoked all forms of affiliation to the movie. Where did it all go ... read morewrong?To address this question in full, this paper draws on three fields of academic inquiry: (1) Narrative Theory It is difficult to define The Neverending Story in terms of genre. A story about stories in itself, The Neverending Story may be considered an amalgamation of various types of narrative. At the same time, it serves as a commentary on narratives in general. This section provides an overview of the book's narrative genealogy. (2) Reader-Response Theory The book aims to engage the reader in an imaginative and playful manner. This section draws on Wolfgang Iser's notion of the text as a playing field for the author and reader, to consider how the reader may interact with a text to construct images and establish some sense of meaning. (3) Adaptation Theory In this section, I trace some of the key issues encountered in adapting the book to the screen. The fundamental question is what constitutes a story's kerneland I question whether such a thing exists at all. Moving beyond the issue of fidelity, I encourage thinking of narrative in terms of ideology.read less