In his article "Indirect Discourse in German, Russian, and English" Henry Whittlesey Schroeder analyzes the different tenses of indirect discourse in these three languages. Indirect discourse in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century adopts a different time in English, German and Russian. English indirect discourse reports in the preterit; German indirect discourse hovers in the subjunctive; Russian indirect discourse speaks in the present. The transposition of English indirect discourse allows the character's discourse to surface in a tense identical to the narration. Consequently, the character can corrupt the narration, undermining the narrator's narration and commentary on that narration. German indirect discourse in the subjunctive and the absence of transposition in Russian mean that charactorial consciousness is kept separate from narration because of the difference in tense. Not only does the separation result in narration that originates solely with the narrator, but the time of the narrator's commentary coincides with the character's discourse. Whittlesey Schroeder illustrates selected texts with authorial narrators as to the idiosyncrasies and consequences of indirect discourse adopting divergent tenses in English, German, and Russian.
Whittlesey Schroeder, Henry.
"Indirect Discourse in German, Russian, and English."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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