The Nature of Narrative

The Nature of Narrative

The Nature of Narrative

The Nature of Narrative

Synopsis

This analytical study provides a welcome balance to the critical practice of judging all narrative literature by standards appropriate only to the novel. Scholes and Kellogg argue that such a narrow view obscures the real tradition of narrative literature in the Western world. Examining thework of Joyce, Proust, Mann, Lawrence, Faulkner, and other writers of this century, they consider elements common to all narrative forms, including myth, folktale, epic, romance, allegory, confession, and satire.

Excerpt

For the past two centuries the dominant form of narrative literature in the West has been the novel. In writing about the Western narrative tradition we will in one sense, therefore, necessarily be describing the heritage of the novel. But it will not be our intention to view the novel as the final product of an ameliorative evolution, as the perfected form which earlier kinds of narrative -- sacred myth, folktale, epic, romance, legend, allegory, confession, satire -- were all striving, with varying degrees of success, to become. Instead, our intention will be almost the opposite. We hope to put the novel in its place, to view the nature of narrative and the Western narrative tradition whole, seeing the novel as only one of a number of narrative possibilities. In order to attempt this it has been necessary to take long views, to rush into literary areas where we can claim some interest and competence but not the deep knowledge of the specialist, and perhaps to generalize overmuch in proportion to the evidence we present. For these and other excesses and exuberances, we apologize, hoping only that the result will justify our temerity in having undertaken such an elaborate project.

The object of this study of narrative art is not to set a new vogue, in either literature or criticism, but to provide an antidote to all narrow views of literature, ancient or modern. In any age in . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.