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Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film [Paperback]

Seymour Benjamin Chatman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £12.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film + Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative + The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative (Cambridge Introductions to Literature)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1st New edition edition (31 May 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080149186X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801491863
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 291,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Among the many pressing needs of literary theory-poetics in the broad sense-is a reasoned account of the structure of narrative, the elements of storytelling, their combination and articulation. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational Tool Not to Be Missed 18 July 2014
This book is exactly what you need if you're studying narrative theory, or wanting to improve your storytelling skills. The knowledge and understanding it gives you of the form is invaluable.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good theory book 24 Oct 2006
Great examples... it's like reading the classics all over again, and with a totally different "point of view" (!)
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful for analyzing written and film narratives 14 Oct 2000
By Gideon Haberkorn - Published on Amazon.com
This book offers, for me, the most understandable model of a narrative I've read so far. Chatman offers helpful concepts for analyzing both written and film narratives. He tries to create a synthesis of all narrative theory before his book, and he does a very good job. Instead of getting lost in a collection of different approaches, you actually find yourself connecting them all, seeing where they fit together.
Among all the books on narratology and narrative analysis I've read, this is the one most helpful not only for analyzing film narratives but also written narratives (although I would always recommend you also read "Narratology: An Introduction", "Narrative Fiction" and perhaps Bordwell and Thompson's " Film Art : An Introduction", if you want to focus especially on films).
This book and the way Chatman dissects the narrative are also interesting for people more interested in writing than in analysis: I believe the parts Chatman splits the narrative into resemble very closely those writers use in putting one together. So this book may actually help writers gain new insights into what they are doing instinctively.
First and foremost, however, it is a very useful book for the student and scholar of literature.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rhetoric and Narrative 24 Feb 2002
By Adirondack Views - Published on Amazon.com
Chatman's book has been around for a while, but it is still probably the best summary of structuralist narrative theory out there. Chatman makes the very important connection beetween narrative theory and its rhetorical effects on audience. His treatment of the construction of time in narrative summarizes several other prominent narrative theorists, but his terminology is perhaps the most useful. His clear presentation of the distinction between "story" and "discourse" (often called "l'histoire" and "recit" after Genette) and the linking of discourse to rhetorical theory is perhaps the book's most useful feature. Chatman, whose early works included a treatise on poetic meter, is known primarily as a film theorist, but his work analyzes narrative in many media and in many forms. I have used this book as an introduction to narrative theory in my classes.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very useful 5 Mar 2008
By Picky Consumer - Published on Amazon.com
This is a terrifically useful book and is quite well known in graduate student circles. I came across it randomly at a bookstore when I was searching for a good introduction to literary theory and basic concepts. This book was clear and insightful and Chatman's presentation has since become the anchor around which I was able to read and digest all the other books that came after it. If you're looking for a 'way into' literary theory concepts, this one will be very helpful.

The title, story and discourse - refers to the basic distinction literary theorists make between a story (chronological set of events) and its narration (chronology can be manipulated to produce various rhetorical effects such as suspense, etc).
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars theory of narration 22 Oct 2010
By Joel J. Rossetti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Remember those books from English Literature in highschool? Drifting through mountains of abstracts in Psychology at college? Same case here. It takes reading through it; 2-3 times. If your a screenwriter this book and author help bring into focus the theory and application of narration in film. good luck
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