Read e-book online A Companion to Narrative Theory PDF

By James Phelan, Peter J. Rabinowitz

The 35 unique essays in A better half to Narrative thought represent the simplest to be had creation to this important and contested box of humanistic enquiry. The essays characterize the entire significant severe techniques to narrative – narratological, rhetorical, feminist, post-structuralist, historicist – and examine and debate the family members between them. furthermore, they stretch the limits of the sphere via contemplating narratives in numerous disciplines, equivalent to legislation and medication, and in quite a few media, together with movie, tune, and portray.

The quantity is split into six components: competing bills of the historical past of the sphere; examinations of recurrent difficulties; feedback for theoretical revisions and suggestions; explorations of the family between shape, historical past, politics, and ethics; analyses of ways narrative operates in numerous disciplines and in media past the written observe; and speculations concerning the way forward for narrative and of narrative thought. even as, it bargains provocative analyses of a variety of works, either canonical and well known, from the Bible via novels by way of Dickens, Woolf, and Arundhati Roy directly to Bernard Herrmann’s movie song and the motion work of Jackson Pollock. between its participants are a few of the top figures within the box, together with such early pioneers as Wayne C. sales space, Seymour Chatman, J. Hillis Miller, and Gerald Prince.

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Extra resources for A Companion to Narrative Theory

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The critic engages in serial readings of individual stories; the narratologist studies what allows an assemblage of verbal or other signs to be construed as a narrative in the first place. Thus the structuralist narratologists made into an explicit methodology the theoretical synecdoche that was a more or less implicit background assumption for the Russian Formalists. In essence, the narratologists looked to language theory for model-building purposes. In the process, they confirmed the fruitfulness of transferring into the domain of narrative theory ideas incubated in other disciplines (Herman 2002).

Similarly, refusing to distinguish between the form and content of fiction, James writes: ‘‘This sense of the story being the idea, the starting-point of the novel, is the only one that I see in which it can be spoken of as something different from its organic whole’’ (p. 40). Precisely because A Genealogy of Early Developments 27 for James the content of fiction must be allowed to determine its form, and vice versa, his account remains resolutely antiprescriptivist. He argues that it is impossible to dictate, a priori, what makes for successful narrative fiction.

I focus on this influential text, published in mid twentieth-century North America but bearing the traces of earlier German, Czech, and Russian scholarship, to underscore how modern-day research on narrative was shaped by the discontinuities and dislocations associated with World War II, among other disruptive events. Caught up in these events, Wellek and Warren’s chapter in Theory of Literature provides a point of entry into the network of historical tendencies that conspired to make narrative theory what it was and is.

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