A theory of narrative

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Columbia University Press, 2008 - Art - 377 pages
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Narrative is a powerful element of human culture, storing and sharing the cherished parts of our personal memories and giving structure to our laws, entertainment, and history. We experience narrative in words, pictures, and film, yet regardless of how the tale is told, story remains independent from the media that makes it concrete. Narrative follows humans wherever they travel and adapts readily to new forms of communication. Constantly evolving and always up-to-date, narrative is a necessary strategy of human expression and a fundamental component of human identity. In order to understand human interaction, award-winning scholar Rick Altman launches a close study of narrative's nature, its variation in different contexts, and the method through which it makes meaning. Altman's approach breaks away from traditional forms of analysis, identifying three basic strategies: single-focus, dual-focus, and multiple-focus. Unpacking an intentionally diverse selection of texts, Altman demonstrates how these strategies function in context and illustrates their theoretical and practical applications in terms of textual analysis, literary and film history, social organization, religion, and politics. He employs inventive terminology and precise analytical methods throughout his groundbreaking work, making this volume ideal for teaching literary and film theory and for exploring the anatomy of narrative on a more general level.

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User Review  - eowynfaramir - LibraryThing

This is an excellent introduction to narratology and the study of narrative. In Chapter One, Altman offers a clear overview of "The Traditional Understanding of Narrative" and his suggestions for "A ... Read full review


one What Is Narrative? l
two The Song of Roland?
three DualFocus Narrative
four Hesters Speculation
flve SingleFocus Narrative
x Pieter Bruegel or the Space of Multiplicity
seven MultipleFocus Narrative
e1ght Theoretical Conclusion
n1ne Practical Conclusion

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About the author (2008)

Rick Altman is professor of cinema and comparative literature at the University of Iowa. Among his many titles on film is Columbia University Press's Silent Film Sound, which won the Limina Award for Best Cinema Studies book, the Theater Library Association Award, and was a finalist for the Kraszna-Krausz Book Award.

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