Basic Elements of Narrative
by David Herman

(forthcoming from Wiley-Blackwell in early 2009)

Basic Elements of Narrative
outlines a way of thinking about what narrative is and how to identify its basic elements across the many communicative media in which stories are told and interpreted, exchanged and transformed. Providing a synopsis of key concepts developed by previous theorists, the book also aims to contribute to the growing body of scholarship on stories. Viewing narrative in three ways - as a cognitive structure, a type of text, and a resource for communicative interaction - the study characterizes stories as a basic human strategy for coming to terms with time, process, and change. The book focuses on examples from literature, face to face interaction, graphic novels, and film to explore what different stories have in common, and to examine what remains constant when the same story is told in different media.

Including a glossary of key terms, a full bibliography, and a comprehensive index, Basic Elements of Narrative is designed to be accessible to students as well as educated non-specialists. The concise, up-to-date treatment of foundational concepts also makes this book an ideal reference for specialists in the field.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
The Elements

    -The Scope and Aims of This Book
    -Storytelling Media and Modes of Narration

1. Getting Started: A Thumbnail Sketch of the Approach
    -Toward a Working Definition of Narrative
    -Profiles of Narrative
    -Narrative: Basic Elements

2. Background and Context: Framing the Approach
    -Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Narrative and Narrative Theory
    -Major Trends in Recent Scholarship on Narrative

3. Back to the Elements: Narrative Occasions
    -Situating Stories
    -Sociolinguistic Approaches
    -Positioning Theory    
    -The Narrative Communication Model

4. Temporality, Particularity, and Narrative: An Excursion into the Theory of Text Types    
    -From Contexts of Narration to Narrative as a Type of Text
    -Text Types and Categorization Processes
    -Narrative as a Text-Type Category: Descriptions vs. Stories vs. Explanations    
    -Summing up: Text Types, Communicative Competence, and the Role of Stories in Science

5. The Third Element: Or, How to Build a Storyworld  
    -Narratives as Blueprints for Worldmaking
    -Narrative Ways of Worldmaking
    -Narrative Worlds: A Survey of Approaches
    -Configuring Narrative Worlds: The WHAT, WHERE, and WHEN Dimensions of Storyworlds
    -Worlds Disrupted: Narrativity and Noncanonical Events

6. The Nexus of Narrative and Mind
    -The Consciousness Factor
    -Consciousness Across Narrative Genres
    -Experiencing Minds: What It's Like, Qualia, Raw Feels
    -Storied Minds: Narrative Foundations of Consciousness?