‘Replacing Prologue And Epilogue By Gerard Genette’s Paratextual Materials: ‘The Custom House’ As Peritext Of Nathaniel Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter

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Sania Gul , Farooq Shah , Rani Begum , Saddam ul Islam , Mujtaba Khan


The present paper brings into focus a very significant and yet ignored issue: the peri-textual materials. Therefore, the researchers’ focus is on the materials which are appended to the original text and which although seem contingent but serve as integral part of a text book. The term ‘peri’ which means surrounding and ‘textual’ means, elements that are related directly to the text. So the paper tries to explore the necessary and significant connection between a text book and the surrounding materials that help us comprehend the text fully and more conveniently and also these materials mitigate the inclusiveness of the writer. As this study highlights the necessity and function of such paratextual materials, the study owes debt to Gerard Genette’s work on Paratexts and Threshold of Interpretation (1997). Although nearly all books have these supporting and attached surrounding textual materials, this paper’s scope is exclusively applied to Nathaniel Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter, and the ‘Custom House’ serves as its Peritext. Genette’s text and his methods are employed to read the entire text of the subject and has been brought into an inspection under its lense. The paper finds that the understanding of The Scarlet Letter becomes more accomplished and refined once ‘The Custom House’ is consulted.

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