Narrative Theory: A reading list

Cover of "The Nature of Narrative: Revise...

Our colleague, H. Porter Abbott, at UCSB teaches a great course on Narrative theory, which includes this awesome reading list… Enjoy:


  1. Abbott, H. Porter. The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge UP,
  2. Bal, Mieke. Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative. Toronto: U of Toronto
    P, 1985.
  3. Barthes, Roland. “Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives” in Image
    -Music Text, reprinted in A Barthes Reader, Susan Sontag (ed.). New York: Hill
    & Wang, 1982, 251 295.
  4. —————. S/Z, Richard Miller (trans.). New York: Hill & Wang, 1974.
  5. Chatman, Seymour. Coming to Terms: The Rhetoric of Narrative in Fiction and Film.
    Ithaca: Cornell U P, 1990.
  6. —————-. Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film. Ithaca:
    Cornell U P, 1978.
  7. Cohn, Dorrit. Transparent Minds: Narrative Modes for Presenting Consciousness in
    Fiction. Princeton: Princeton U P, 1978.
  8. —————-. The Distinction of Fiction. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1999.
  9. Genette, Gèrard. Narrative Discourse: An Essay on Method, trans. Jane E. Lewin. Ithaca:
    Cornell U P, 1972.
  10. —————-. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation, Jane E. Lewin (trans.). Cambridge:
    Cambridge U P, 1997.
  11. Prince, Gerald. A Dictionary of Narratology. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1987.
  12. —————-. Narratology: The Form and Functioning of Narrative. Berlin: Mouton, 1982.
  13. Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith. Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics. London: Methuen,
  14. Scholes, Robert, and Robert Kellogg. The Nature of Narrative. New York: Oxford U P,
  15. More Reading of Interest
  16. Andrew, Dudley. “Adaptation” in Concepts in Film Theory. Oxford: Oxford U P, 1984,
  17. Aristotle, trans. Ingram Bywater. “De Poetica [Poetics]” in Richard McKeon (ed.),
    Introduction to Aristotle. New York: Random House, 1947, 624-667.
  18. Bhabha, Homi K. (ed.). Nation and Narration. London: Routledge, 1990.
  19. Boardman, Michael M. Narrative Innovation and Incoherence. Durham: Duke U P,
  20. Booth, Alison. Famous Last Words: Changes in Gender and Narrative Closure.
    Charlottesville: U P of Virginia, 1993.
  21. Booth, Wayne. The Rhetoric of Fiction. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1961.
  22. Bordwell, David. Narration in the Fiction Film. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1985.
  23. Branigan, Edward. Narrative Comprehension and Film. London: Routledge, 1992.
  24. Britton, Bruce K. & A. D. Pellegrini (eds.). Narrative Thought & Narrative Language.
    Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1990.
  25. Brooks, Peter. Reading for the Plot. New York: Random House, 1985.
  26. Brooks, Peter and Paul Gewirtz (eds.). Law’s Stories: Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law.
    New Haven: Yale U P, 1996.
  27. Bruner, Jerome. “Two Modes of Thought” in Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, Cambridge:
    Harvard U P, 1986, 11-43.
  28. —————–. Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life. New York: Farrar, Straus, and
    Giroux, c2002.
  29. —————–. “The Narrative Construction of ‘Reality'” in Massimo Ammaniti and
    Daniel N. Stern (eds.), Psychoanalysis and Development: Representations and
    Narratives. New York: New York U P, 1994, pp. 15-38.
  30. Chambers, Ross. Story and Situation: Narrative Seduction and the Power of Fiction.
    Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1984.
  31. —————–. Room for Maneuver: Reading Oppositional Narrative. U of Chicago P,
  32. Currie, Mark. Postmodern Narrative Theory. New York: St. Martin’s P, 1998.
  33. Fehn, Ann, Ingeborg Hoesterey, and Maria Tatar (eds.). Neverending Stories: Toward a
    Critical Narratology. Princeton U P, 1992.
  34. Fludernick, Monica. Towards a Natural Narratology. London: Routledge, 1996.
  35. Forster, E. M. Aspects of the Novel. London: Harcourt, 1927.
  36. Gibson, Andrew. Towards a Postmodern Theory of Narrative. Edinburgh U P, 1996.
  37. Greimas, Algirdas-Julien. Structural Semantics:an Attempt at a Method, trans.
    Daniele McDowell, et al. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1983.
  38. Hayles, N. Katherine (ed.), Technocriticism and Hypernarrative, Special Issue, Modern
    Fiction Studies 43:3 (1997).
  39. Herman, David (ed.). Narratologies: New Perspectives on Narrative Analysis, Columbus:
    Ohio State U P, 1999.
  40. —————— (ed.). Narrative Theory & the Cognitive Sciences. Stanford: CSLI, 2003.
  41. Iser, Wolfgang. The Implied Reader: Patterns of Communication in Prose Fiction from
    Bunyan to Beckett. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U P, 1974.
  42. Jameson, Fredric. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act.
    Ithaca: Cornell U P, 1981.
  43. Kermode, Frank. The Art of Telling. Cambridge: Harvard U P, 1983.
  44. ————–. The Genesis of Secrecy: On the Interpretation of Narrative. Cambridge:
    Harvard U P, 1979.
  45. ————–. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction. Oxford: Oxford
    U P, 1966.
  46. Landow, George P. “Reconfiguring Narrative” in Hypertext 2.0: the Convergence of
    Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U P,
    1997; revised, 178-218.
  47. Lanser, Susan Snaider. Fictions of Authority: Women Writers and Narrative Voice.
    Ithaca: Cornell U P, 1992.
  48. Martin, Wallace. Recent Theories of Narrative. Ithaca: Cornell U P, 1986.
  49. Mezei, Kathy (ed.). Ambiguous Discourse: Feminist Narratology and British Women
    Writers. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1996.
  50. Nichols, Bill. Ideology and the Image: Social Representation in the Cinema and Other
    Media. Bloomington: Indiana U P, 1981.
  51. Mihailescu, Calin-Andrei, and Walid Hamarneh (eds.). Fiction Updated: Theories of
    Fictionality, Narratology, and Poetics. U of Toronto P, 1996.
  52. Miller, J. Hillis. Reading Narrative Discourse. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1998.
  53. Mitchell, W. J. T. (ed.). On Narrative. U of Chicago P, 1981.
  54. Morson, Gary Saul. Narrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time. New Haven: Yale
    U P, 1994.
  55. O’Neill, Patrick. Fictions of Discourse: Reading Narrative Theory. U of Toronto P, 1994.
  56. Pascal, Roy. The Dual Voice : Free Indirect Speech and its Functioning in the
    Nineteenth-Century European Novel. Manchester: Manchester U P, 1977.
  57. Phelan, James. Reading People, Reading Plots: Character, Progression, and the
    Interpretation of Narrative. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1989.
  58. ———- (ed.). Understanding Narrative. Columbus: Ohio State U P, 1994.
  59. Rabinowitz, Peter J. Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of
    Interpretation. Ithaca, NY: Cornell U P, 1987.
  60. Rabkin, Eric S. Narrative Suspense. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1973.
  61. Richardson, Brian. Unlikely Stories: Causality and the Nature of Modern Narrative.
    Newark: U of Delaware P, 1997.
    Richter, David H. Fable’s End: Completeness and Closure in Rhetorical Fiction.
    Chicago: U of Chicago P. 1974.
  62. ———. Narrative/Theory. New York: Longman, 1996.
  63. Ricoeur, Paul. Time and Narrative, Volumes I, II, & III, Kathleen McLaughlin and David
    Pellauer(trans.). Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1984, 1985, 1988.
  64. Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith. A Glance Beyond Doubt: Narration, Representation,
    Subjectivity. Columbus: Ohio State U P, 1996.
  65. Ryan, Marie-Laure. Possible Worlds, Artificial Intelligence, and Narrative Theory.
    Bloomington: Indiana U P, 1991.
  66. Schank, Roger C. Tell Me a Story: Narrative and Intelligence. Evanston: Northwestern
    U P, 1990.
  67. Simion, Eugen. The Return of the Author. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1996.
  68. Sternberg, Meir. Expositional Modes and Temporal Ordering in Fiction. Baltimore:
    Johns Hopkins UP, 1978.
  69. Storey, Robert. Mimesis & the Human Animal: On the Biogenetic Foundations of
    Literary Representation. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1996)
  70. Sturgess, Philip J. M. Narrativity: Theory and Practice. Oxford U P, 1992.
  71. Tomkins, Jane P (ed.). Reader-Response Criticism: from Formalism to Post-
    Structuralism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1980.
  72. Torgovnick, Mariana. Closure in the Novel. Princeton: Princeton U P, 1981.
  73. White, Hayden. Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe.
    Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U P, 1973.
  74. ———–. The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation.
    (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U P, 1987).
  75. Whittock, Trevor. Metaphor and Film. Cambridge U P, 1990.
  76. Williams, Jeffrey. Theory and the Novel: Narrative Reflexivity in the British Tradition.
    Cambridge U P, 1998.


Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei - Professor of Communication at Purdue University - studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei's teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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