The Classical Plot and the Invention of Western Narrative

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $116.27
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 6%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $116.27   
  • New (3) from $116.27   
  • Used (1) from $164.22   


This is the story of how Western literature first developed its distinctive taste for the kind of tight, economical plotting still employed in modern fiction and cinema. The book shows how this taste was formed in Greco-Roman antiquity out of a series of revolutions in storytelling, centered on Homer, early tragedy, Hellenistic comedy, and the Greek love-novels of the early centuries AD. Along the way, it draws on cognitive science and current literary theory to offer a resilient yet accessible new theory of what "plot" is and how it works.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A rare, even unique offering." Choice

"This book deserves attention from tose interested in deep structures of Greek and dependent literary traditions." Donald Lateiner, Ohio University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521771764
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. The Classical Plot: 1. Approaches; 2. A cognitive model; 3. The narrative universe; 4. The classical plot; 5. Unclassical plots; Part II. The Classical Plots: 6. Epic myth I: Iliad; 7. Epic myth II: Odyssey; 8. Dramatic myth: tragedy and satyr-play; 9. Dramatic fiction: New Comedy; 10. Epic fiction: the Greek novel; Conclusion; Glossary.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2008

    Exceptional Work--well-worth one's investment

    This is an exceptional, authorative, and insightful work. It fills a serious void in the literature. Congratulations!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)