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Story Logic: Problems and Possibilities of Narrative

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Featuring a major synthesis and critique of interdisciplinary narrative theory, Story Logic marks a watershed moment in the study of narrative. David Herman argues that narrative is simultaneously a cognitive style, a discourse genre, and a resource for writing. Because stories are strategies that help humans make sense of their world, narratives not only have a logic but also are a logic in their own right, providing an irreplaceable resource for structuring and comprehending experience. Story Logic brings together and pointedly examines key concepts of narrative in literary criticism, linguistics, and cognitive science, supplementing them with a battery of additional concepts that enable many different kinds of narratives to be analyzed and understood. By thoroughly tracing and synthesizing the development of different strands of narrative theory and provocatively critiquing what narratives are and how they work, Story Logic builds a powerful interpretive tool kit that broadens the applicability of narrative theory to more complex forms of stories, however and wherever they appear. Story Logic offers a fresh and incisive way to appreciate more fully the power and significance of narratives.
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Editorial Reviews

Language in Society

“One of the virtues of David Herman’s Story Logic lies in its attempt to bring together literary and linguistic approaches to the study of narrative. The attempt results in a synthesis that promotes a better understanding of discourse for literary scholars and a deeper grasp of basic narratology tools for discourse analysts. The title of the volume reflects one of the main points of the book: that ‘stories both have a logic and are logic in their own right’ because they constitute a powerful instrument for understanding the world. . . . . Herman has originally and successfully applied basic concepts and tools of linguistic analysis to the study of literary narrative. . . . I believe that many aspects of the narrative analyses proposed in the volume, such as Herman’s ideas about space, time, and action, can help linguists develop new insights about the ways in which different kinds of narratives construct meaning.”—Language in Society


"This in-depth inquiry examines issues and complications involved in analysis of narrative. It is thoughtfully and clearly laid out . . . . Ideas. . . . are always carefully explained. Well documented with notes, extensive bibliography, and sound index, this volume is highly recommended for academic libraries serving serious students of narratology."—Choice
Symploke - Catherine Emmott

"Herman offers a rich array of new ideas and methods. . . . Story Logic sets the agenda for future studies in cognitive narratology, opening up new lines of inquiry and providing a valuable resource for those who analyze narrative texts and those who want to know more about how we comprehend stories."—Catherine Emmott, Symploke

"This in-depth inquiry examines issues and complications involved in analysis of narrative. It is thoughtfully and clearly laid out . . . . Ideas. . . . are always carefully explained. Well documented with notes, extensive bibliography, and sound index, this volume is highly recommended for academic libraries serving serious students of narratology."—Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803273429
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Series: Frontiers of Narrative Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 478
  • Sales rank: 1,175,667
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Herman is a professor of English at North Carolina State University and an adjunct professor of linguistics at Duke University. He is the author of Universal Grammar and Narrative Form and the editor of Narratologies: New Perspectives on Narrative Analysis.
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Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Narrative macrodesigns
1 States, events, and actions 27
2 Action representations 53
3 Scripts, sequences, and stories 85
4 Participant roles and relations 115
5 Dialogues and styles 171
Pt. 2 Narrative macrodesigns
6 Temporalities 211
7 Spatialization 263
8 Perspectives 301
9 Contextual anchoring 331
Notes 373
Bibliography 419
Index 453
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