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hypo- +‎ diegetic


hypodiegetic (comparative more hypodiegetic, superlative most hypodiegetic)

  1. (narratology) Pertaining to a secondary narrative embedded within the primary narrative (a story within a story).
    • 1999, Schönberger-Schleicher, Esther, Charlotte and Emily Brontë: a narrative analysis of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, →ISBN, page 182:
      In Jane Eyre this hypodiegetic level is only attained four times again, first in chapter fifteen, in which Rochester tells Jane about his mistress Celine Varens, second in chapter twenty-seven [...]
    • 2004, Doherty, Gerald, Dubliners' Dozen, page 132:
      Gretta's story, by contrast, has all the force of an authentic performance, a spontaneous speech-act that recreates its own referential validity. As such, it is the most coherent and integrated hypodiegetic act of narration in Dubliners.
    • 2014, Round, Julia, Gothic in Comics and Graphic Novels, page 71:
      Continuing this issue of depth: backgrounds are also used throughout some issues of Sandman, for example in Sandman #6 (“24 Hours”) where they provide mood, or Sandman #3 (“Dream a Little Dream of Me”) where a hypodiegetic dream story underlies the pages (see for example page 22), with the diegetic narrative sequence overlaid.

Usage notes[edit]

The secondary narrative can be a story told by a character within the main story or it can take the form of a dream, nightmare, hallucination, imaginary or other fantasy element.