Diegetic levels


Use for Narrative levels. See also Frame narratives and Embedded narratives

Diegetic levels are also referred to as narrative levels, for example, the English translation of Gerard Genette’s book Narrative Discourse talks of narrative levels. The notion is used to describe the relations between an act of narration and the diégèse, i.e. the story as a whole universe or world.

Following Christian Metz (c1971, 1974: 97-98), diégèse is understood as the spatiotemporal universe or world within which a story takes place. In the case of a cinematic film, Metz’s chosen field of analysis, this means everything which constitutes or belongs to the world projected by the film, and not only visually, i.e. not limited to that which is displayed in the pro-filmic event.

Narrative levels are frequently understood to correspond to narrative framing or embedding. The two notions coincide to some extent, but it is essential to remember that narrative levels extend into areas not generally taken into account in non-narratological discussions of framing and embedding.


Genette, G. (1980) Voice, in Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1980

Metz, Christian (c1971, 1974). Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema. Chicago: Chicago University Press.