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The Nature of Narrative, 40th Anniversary Edition [Hardcover]

Robert Scholes , James Phelan , Robert Kellogg

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Book Description

1 Oct 2006
For the past forty years The Nature of Narrative has been a seminal work for literary students, teachers, writers, and scholars. Countering the tendency to view the novel as the paradigm case of literary narrative, authors Robert Scholes and Robert Kellogg in the original edition offered a compelling history of the genre narrative from antiquity to the twentieth-century, even as they carried out their main task of describing and analyzing the nature of narrative's main elements: meaning, character, plot, and point of view. Their history emphasized the broad sweep of literary narrative from ancient times to the contemporary period, and it included a chapter on the oral heritage of written narrative and an appendix on the interior monologue in ancient texts.
The fortieth anniversary edition of this groundbreaking work has been revised and expanded to include a new preface and a lengthy chapter on developments in narrative theory since 1966 by James Phelan. This chapter describes the principles and practices of structuralist, cognitive, feminist, and rhetorical approaches to narrative, paying special attention to their work on plot, character, and narrative discourse.
A continued leader in the field of narrative studies, The Nature of Narrative offers unique and invaluable histories of both narrative and narrative theory.

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Praise for the previous edition of (Modern Language Journal "Attempts to put the novel in its place, to see it as only one of a number of narrative possibilities. The authors survey all kinds of narrative forms, written and unwritten from almost all literatures, with learning and insight. Also the traditional subjects of the theory of the novel, character, type, realism, etc., are illuminated from this wider international perspective."-René Wellek, Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature, Yale University)

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"A pioneer venture into one of the richest areas in literature, this volume is worthy of comparison with the classic studies of Harry Levin and René Wellek

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly comprehensible. Beautifully written. 29 April 2014
By Karen L. Dockal - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am enjoying this book tremendously. I haven't finished it yet but doubt that some perception of a conclusion as the other reviewer has described will wipe out all that I'm getting from the book as a whole. One of the most digestible books on narrative I've yet read and I've read quite a few now. Most leave me wondering if somewhere along the line my understanding of the English language began seeping out of my brain without my knowledge. There is a lot of narrative history and theory here, as well, as the authorial opinion and the opinions aren't nearly as intrusive as the other reviewer would have it. I only gave it four stars because I haven't finished reading it and it will be a while before I can do so. (Thesis. Ugh!)
29 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let Me Save You Some Time 28 May 2004
By B. M. White - Published on
In the closing passage of this book, after reading some 200+ pages about narrative art as it progressed from the oral to the written form (a journey with some admittedly fascinating stops along the way), the author announces that the written form, i.e. books, is dying out and that the medium of film is its new successor. Yep, it's another one of those, "Thank you for investing you time in reading this, now let me spit in your face before I go" books, just like Rank's Art and Artist, but it's not quite as bad as Rank though. Rank announced the death of all art. This guy was just announcing the death of the book. I should have known from the beginning when he kept talking about "putting the novel in its place."
What really annoyed me was the way he kept talking like James Joyce was the cutting edge of modern literature, implying that everyone who doesn't write that kind of crazy garbage is out of touch with the times. He made it sound as if it were impossible or at least pathically naive to just tell a simple story in our complex modern age, because 'good heavens!!' its impossible to bridge the ironic gap between author and narrator and persona, and then there's Henry James over there trying refine the author out of existence, Silly Rabbit, and 'my goodness' how are you going to satisfy the modern mind's insatiable desire for verisimilitude and oh let's not forget the Theory of Relativity casting its cloud over everything. The Theory of Relativity is like a magical rabbit that modern intellectuals pull out of their hats in the most unlikeliest of situations. Anyway, I doubt most contemporary writers think or need to think about these sorts of things. And if they do...well, they just buckle down and do the best they can and get the story told and forget that they ever read books like this.
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