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Essentials of the Theory of Fiction


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Table of Contents

Preface to the Third Edition vii
Introduction 1
1. The Art of Fiction / Henry James 13
2. Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown / Virginia Woolf 21
3. Flat and Round Characters / E. M. Forster 35
4. Epic and Novel / M. M. Bakhtin 43
5. Spatial Form in Modern Literature / Joseph Frank 61
6. Writing and the Novel / Roland Barthes 75
7. Distance and Point of View: An Essay in Classification / Wayne Booth 83
8. Marxist Aesthetics and Literary Realism / Georg Lukas 101
9. The Concept of Character in Fiction / William H. Gass 113
10. Time and Narrative in A la recherche du temps perdu / Gerard Genette 212
11. Discourse: Nonnarrated Stories / Seymour Chatman 139
12. Reading as Construction / Tzvetan Todorov 152
13. The Literature of Replenishment / John Barth 165
14. The Blackness of Blackness: A Critique on the Sign and the
Signifying Monkey / Henry Louis Gates Jr. 177
15. Reading for the Plot / Peter Brooks 201
16. Breaking the Sentence; Breaking the Sequence / Rachel Blau Duplessis 221
17. The Documentary Novel and the Problem of Borders / Barbara Foley 239
18. Politics, Literary Form, and a Feminist Poetics of the Novel / Joanne S. Frye 255
19. "The Pastime of Past Time": Fiction, History, Historiographical
Metafiction / Linda Hutcheon 275
20. "Building Up from Fragments": The Oral Memory Process in Some Recent African-American Written Narratives / Helen Lock 297
21. Scheherazade's Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction / Wendy B. Faris 311
22. The Textualization of the Reader in Magical Realist Fiction / Jon Thiem 339
23. Are Fictional Worlds Possible? / Ruth Ronen 351
24. Chronoschisms / Ursula K. Heise 361
25. Queering Narratology / Susan S. Lanser 387
26. A Brief Story of Postmodern Plot / Cathrine Burgass 399
27. On Voice / John Brenkman 411
28. What Interactive Narratives Do That Print Narratives Cannot / J. Yellowlees Douglas 443
29. A Media Migration: Toward a Potential Literature / Joseph Tabbi 471
Biographical Notes 491
Permissions 495
Index 499

Promotional Information

A third edition of this anthology of the most influential and comprehensive writing on the theory of fiction from the 19th century, through modernism and postmodernism to the present.

About the Author

Michael J. Hoffman is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Davis. Among his books are Critical Essays on Gertrude Stein and The Subversive Vision: American Romanticism in Literature.

Patrick D. Murphy is Professor of English at the University of Central Florida, Orlando. His most recent books are Farther Afield in the Study of Nature-Oriented Literature and A Place for Wayfaring: The Poetry and Prose of Gary Snyder.


"That there was a perceived need to produce a third, expanded edition of this anthology of essays on the theory of fiction speaks volumes about both the user-friendliness and value of such single-volume compendia. . . . This remains a volume that reminds critics that progress is often not the latest thing in the marketplace but critical pieces that have stood the test of time."
--"Forum for Modern Language Studies"

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