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What accounts for the power of stories to both entertain and illuminate? This question has long compelled the attention of storytellers and students of literature alike, and, over the past several decades, it has opened up broader dialogues about the nature of culture and interpretation. This third edition of the bestselling Essentials of the Theory of Fiction provides a comprehensive view of the theory of fiction from the nineteenth century through modernism and postmodernism to the present. It offers a sweeping sample of major theories of fictional technique while emphasizing recent developments in literary criticism. The essays range across topics including voice, point of view, narration, sequencing, gender, and race. Ten new selections address issues such as oral memory in African American fiction, temporality, queer theory, magical realism, interactive narratives, and the effect of virtual technologies on literature. For students and generalists alike, Essentials of the Theory of Fiction is an invaluable resource for understanding how fiction works.
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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, HistoriographicalMetafiction / 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.

Reviews

"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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