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A Theory of Narrative


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Rick Altman makes a genuinely rich and very useful move in the theory of narrative and does so with style, elegance, clarity, and verve. There are even some touches of humor, and the whole is immensely readable. He grounds his argument in a large number of examples, and a good deal of his book's persuasive force derives precisely from the range and variety of these examples. -- L. Ross Chambers, professor emeritus, The University of Michigan

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Note 1. What is Narrative? 2. The Song...of Roland? 3. Dual-Focus Narrative 4. Hester's Speculation 5. Single-Focus Narrative 6. Pieter Bruegel, or the Space of Multiplicity 7. Multiple-Focus Narrative 8. Theoretical Conclusion 9. Practical Conclusion References Index

About the Author

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.


This is a large, ambitious study that proposes an original, comprehensive theory of narrative. Rick Altman draws on examples ranging from the Bible to Hollywood films, from classical epic and pastoral to medieval heroic poetry, and from saints' lives to nineteenth- and twentieth-century French, British, and American novels, all analyzed within an impressively parsimonious scheme. -- Peter Garrett, University of Illinois An elegant and pertinent theory. -- Matt Campora Media/Culture Reviews

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