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Información del libro
This text provides an excellent introduction and overview of Narratology, a rapidly growing field in the humanities. Literary narratologists have provided many key concepts and analytical tools which are widely used in the interdisciplinary analysis of such narrative features as plot, point of view, speech presentation, ideological perspective and interpretation.The introduction explains the central concepts of narratology, their historical development, and draws together contemporary trends from many different disciplines into common focus. It offers a compendium of the development of narratology from classical poetics to the present.The essays are all prefaced by individual forewords helping the reader to place each individual selection in context. Recent developments are assessed across disciplines, highlighting the mutual influences of narratology and deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, film and media studies.
The article reprinted here was originally published as the introduction to no. 8 of Communications, perhaps the most memorable issue of the pathbreaking French journal and one generally considered to be a manifesto of the French structuralist school. This issue, wholly devoted to the structural analysis of narrative, included seminal essays by A.-J. Greimas, Claude Bremond, Christian Metz, Tzvetan Todorov and Gérard Genette. In their semiological work, these critics were indebted to a variety of sources: structural linguistics, the Prague School, Russian formalism, structural anthropology and so on. But their most direct influences were Vladimir Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale (1928) and Lévi-Strauss’ Structural Anthropology (1958, trans. 1963).In his introductory essay, Roland Barthes proposed his own deductive model for the structural analysis of narrative at discourse level, closely following the example of generative linguistics. Rejecting all kinds of thematic approach, he aims at the construction of a ‘functional syntax’ theoretically capable of accounting for every conceivable type of narrative. He bases his model on Propp’s concept of ‘function’ as the structural unit governing the logic of narrative possibilities, the unfolding of the actions performed by the characters and the relations among them. Barthes’ model improves on Propp’s in that it offers the notions of ‘levels of description’ and the logic of vertical (‘hierarchical’) integration of narrative instances, which prefigure those of Genette and Bal. Barthes also contends that traditional classifications of character types are unsatisfactory because they rely excessively on the privileging of one particular kind of character: the subject. In line with Todorov and Greimas, he proposes to void the notion of ‘character’ of its humanistic connotations in favour of the functional notion of agent or ‘actant’. Anticipating the importance given by reader-response criticism to the narratee, Barthes defines narrative communication as an exchange between narrator and listener. He stresses the peculiarities of literary enunciation and insists on the differentiation between narrator (who speaks in the narrative), implied author (who writes), and real author (who is). Barthes’ later phase is generally considered to veer towards a post-structuralist concern with desire, the pleasure of the text, the critique of cultural stereotypes and a looser, more contextualized and particularized approach, for instance, in his reading of a short story by Balzac in S/Z.