Cover image for The Cambridge introduction to narrative
Title:
The Cambridge introduction to narrative
Author:
Abbott, H. Porter.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
xiv, 203 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
This study is designed to help readers understand what narrative is, how it is constructed, how it acts upon us, how we act upon it, how it is transmitted, and how it changes when the medium or the cultural context change. In this indispensable guidebook, Porter Abbott emphasizes that narrative is found not only in the arts but everywhere in the ordinary course of people's lives.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780521650335

9780521659697
Format :
Book

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PN3383.N35 A23 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative is designed to help readers understand what narrative is, how it is constructed, how it acts upon us, how we act upon it, how it is transmitted, and how it changes when the medium or the cultural context change. Porter Abbott emphasises that narrative is found not just in the arts but everywhere in the ordinary course of people's lives. Abbott grounds his treatment of narrative by introducing it as a human phenomenon that is not restricted to literature, film, and theatre, but is found in all activities involving the representation of events in time. At the same time, he honours the fact that out of this common capability have come rich and meaningful narratives that we come back to and reflect on repeatedly in our lives. An indispensable tool for students and teachers alike, this book will guide readers through the fundamental aspects of narrative.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

Directness, accessibility, and coherence distinguish this brief but comprehensive study of narrative. It is very much the "introduction" its title asserts because Abbott is consistent in his efforts to identify, explain, and define. His approach is down-to-earth, even conversational, and yet he integrates terms or references intrinsic to the study of narrative. The plethora of examples and illustrations--both "classic" and contemporary, drawn from critical and theoretical texts, novels, short stories, pictures, films, comics, newspapers, and television--is a major strength in making narrative concepts clear. Above all, there is a nice logical cohesiveness in the clustering of topics treated within chapters. What threaten to be digressive sidebars, for example, are really intricately bound to the text at hand and function like hyperlinks. Abbott's argument that narrative is not restricted to literature but is found in everyday life also threads its way through the chapters and links them--and broadens the range and significance of what might be considered narrative. The "Glossary and Topical Index" is especially useful in the way it has been devised, with graphic emphasis on key terms. Excellent bibliography. Most highly recommended for academic libraries serving students at the lower-division undergraduate level and above. T. Loe SUNY College at Oswego


Table of Contents

Preface
1 Narrative and life: The universality of narrative
Narrative and time
Narrative perception
2 Defining narrative: The bare minimum
Story and narrative discourse
The mediation (construction) of story
Constituent and supplementary events
Narrativity
3 The borders of narrative: Framing narratives
Paratexts
The outer limits of narrative
Is it narrative or is it life itself?
4 The rhetoric of narrative: Causation
Normalization
Masterplots
Narrative rhetoric at work
5 Closure: Conflict: the agon
Closure and endings
Closure, suspense, and surprise
Closure at the level of expectations
Closure at the level of questions
Absence of closure
6 Narration: a few words on interpretation: The narrator
Voice
Focalization
Distance
Reliability
Free indirect style
Narration on stage and screen
7 Interpretation: The implied author
Underreading
Overreading
Gaps
Cruxes
Repetition: themes and motifs
8 Three ways to interpret narrative: The question of wholeness in narrative
Intentional readings
Symptomatic readings
Adaptive readings
9 Adaptation across media: Adaptation as creative destruction
Duration and pace
Character
Figurative language
Gaps
Focalization
Constraints of the marketplace
10 Character and self in narrative: Character vs. action
Flat and round characters
Can characters be real?
Types
Autobiography
Life writing as performative
11 Narrative contestation: A contest of narratives
A narrative lattice-work
Shadow stories
Motivation and personality
Masterplots and types
Revising cultural masterplots
Battling narratives are everywhere
12 Narrative negotiation
Critical reading as narrative negotiation
Closure one more time
The end of closure?
Glossary
Index