Sona K. Alaverdyan
The term “frame story” is generally defined as a narrative that frames or
surrounds another story or set of stories. As a literary concept it appeared in the
European culture in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but the earliest examples
of this type of literary work (Egyptian “Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor”, “Westcar
Papyrus”, “The Eloquent Peasant”, Indian Vedic Literature, “Mahabharata”,
“Ramayana”, later “Panchatantra”) date back to ancient literature.

The traditions of frame story continued later as well however it received
proper attention and is firmly established in the panorama of the history and theory
of literature due to such monumental works, as Giovanni Boccaccio’s
“Decameron”, Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”, “One Thousand and
One Nights”, the structure of which significantly influenced on the works of later
writers and moved the theorists’ curiosity.

The genre of frame story received a new breath, meaning, and application in
the 19th century, due to the German literature. It was the preferred genre of some
prominent writers of the era such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (“Conversations
of German Refugees”), Clemens Brentano (“The Tale of the Honest Casper and
Fair Annie”), Wilhelm Hauff (“The Spessart Inn”), Franz Grillparzer (“The
Monastery of Sendomir’’, “The Poor Musician”), Gottfried Keller (“The People
from Seldwyla”, “Zurich Novellas”, “Epigram”), Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (“The
Monk’s Wedding”), Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (“The Serapion
Brethren”), etc.

Since almost the same time, it has penetrated the gradually evolving Gothic
novel, providing an opportunity to create new images of the relationship of reality
and unreality. Almost all canonical Gothic novels are works of the genre of the
frame story (Horace Walpole’s “The Castle of Otranto”, Ann Radcliffe’s “The
Mysteries of Udolpho”, Matthew Lewis “The Monk”, Charles Maturin’s “Melmoth
the Wanderer”, Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, Walter Scott’s “Tales of My Landlord”,
Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”, James Hogg’s “The
Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner”, Emily Bronte’s
“Wuthering Heights”, Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw”, Joseph Conrad’s
“Heart of Darkness”, etc.).

On the horizon of literature, frame story was reborn in the postmodern
period and continues to be in the center of writers’ attention to this day as a suitable
platform for satisfying modern literary interests, which conditions the
contemporaneity of the research into the problem.

Taking into account the fact that the clarification of the issue requires rich
factual material and a large period in this article, we have been satisfied with a
brief interpretation of the key issues. It is assumed that this work does not present
the complete history of the genre but emphasizes its origins, structure, key features,
the study of continuous changes in the historical process, and the outline of general
models of the genre for each stage of development. The scientific novelty of the
study is to initiate an attempt at the thorough examination of this disputable issue
of the development of the history of the Armenian literary criticism.