Understanding narrative

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Ohio State University Press, 1994 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 286 pages
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Each of the ten essays is an example of what James Phelan and Peter J. Rabinowitz call "theorypractice": a self-reflexive inquiry that simultaneously interprets and investigates the grounds of interpretation. These essays, in other words, resist the easy and one-way application of fixed theoretical strategies to text. Instead, they call upon a variety of theoretical perspectives to inform their interpretative practice while deploying their interpretations to revise theory. Although the contributors demonstrate affiliations with different theoretical movements - including Marxism, feminism, psychoanalysis, reader-response criticism, and poststructuralism - their inquiries suggest significant shortcomings in the popular practice of classifying critical output according to a static model of theoretical "schools." The contributors' dynamic theory-practice presented here draws upon diverse theoretical principles according to the specific demands of their inquiries, staking out their arguments not by drawing simple oppositions but by striking different balances in the theoretical material on which they draw. Offering essays that consider familiar and unfamiliar narratives from Bronte's Shirley to Myra Page's Moscow Yankee, from Mozart's Prague Symphony to Mungo Park's Travels in the Interior of Africa, Understanding Narrative exemplifies the range of work that this series seeks to promote. Students and scholars of British and American literature, film, and critical theory will find this volume a welcome addition to the series.

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Understanding Narrative
Generic and Doctrinal Politics in the Proletarian
Narratives of Bourgeois Subjectivity in Mozarts Prague
Taking Flight with The Wings
Picturing Spectatorship
Travel Narrative and Imperialist Vision
Present Tense Narration Mimesis the Narrative Norm

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About the author (1994)

James Phelan is Humanities Distinguished Professor in English at The Ohio State University.

James Phelan is Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio State University. He is the editor of the journal "Narrative" and the author of several books in narrative theory, the most recent of which are "Living to Tell About It: A Rhetoric and Ethics of Character Narration" (2005) and "Experiencing Fiction: Judgments, Progressions, and the Rhetorical Theory of Narrative" (2007).

Peter J. Rabinowitz is Professor and Chair of Comparative Literature at Hamilton College. His previous publications include "Before Reading" (1987) and "Authorizing Readers" (coauthored with Michael Smith, 1998). He is also a music critic and serves as a contributing editor of "Fanfare,"

Phelan and Rabinowitz are coeditors of the Ohio State University Press series on the Theory and Interpretation of Narrative, which now has more than twenty-five titles to its credit.

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