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Reading for the Plot
Peter Brooks
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Reading for the Plot

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  138 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
A book which should appeal to both literary theorists and to readers of the novel, this study invites the reader to consider how the plot reflects the patterns of human destiny and seeks to impose a new meaning on life.
Paperback, 363 pages
Published July 12th 1985 by Vintage (first published 1984)
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Più che di lettura, si è trattato di studio appassionato e attento. Matita sempre pronta. Un testo per cultori, studiosi e appassionati. Accademico, serrato, profondo, impegnativo. Entusiasmante. Vi si analizzano a fondo la storia, le tecniche, le ragioni e gli esiti della necessità di una trama, nella narrazione. Qualsiasi narrazione. Anche quella che si fa a sé stessi, come narratori della propria esistenza. Lo studio è condotto, scientificamente, in analogia e paragone con il processo psicana ...more
Mike Puma
Aug 23, 2010 Mike Puma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, lit-crit, 2010
This is a very worth-while book of criticism (even for those of us not much interested in Freudian interpretation) particularly after reading Great Expectations and Absalom, Absalom, on which the author devotes two chapter-length essays. The chapter on Great Expectations is included in both the Norton Critical Edition of GE and the Bedford/St. Martin's Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism edition of GE.
Keith Wilson
What do the flashbacks and nightmares of trauma victims have to do with the way we experience pleasure? Peter Brooks makes these unexpected connections in his essay, Freud's Master Plot, within his book, Reading for the Plot.

A professor of literature at Yale, Brooks wanted to know why stories are a certain length. Why don't we go directly from the beginning to the end and skip all the twists and turns along the way? Why is it necessary to have a plot? Brooks believes that he can explain with som
Mar 19, 2009 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Employing Sigmund Freud’s theories in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Brooks analyzes the structure and functioning of plot in narrative fiction. In the latter part of the text, Brooks analyzes a number of novels (for example, Le Rouge et Le Noir, Great Expectations and Absalom, Absalom!) whose plots are significant not only in the way that they substantiate Brooks’s argument, but also in the way that they reflect attempts to explore the possibilities of plot, thus supplying a comment on Brooks’s ...more
Jeffrey Otto

Psychoanalytic criticism, from its earliest inception, has been, with few exceptions, a lamentable enterprise. As early as 1910, just a year after Freud published The Relation of a Poet to Daydreaming, analysts and critics have been loosely appropriating the language of psychoanalysis to bring deeper understanding to literature. Part of the problem has been a lack of agreement on what (or who) exactly is to be analyzed. Analysts from Otto Rank, writing more than a century ago, to contemporary cr

Although this seems like a book that would be up my alley, it's not really working for me. 1. Freudian reading of plot as desire, eros, which I can "get" but I'm not into. I think Freud and the whole way in which Brooks talks about desire here is way too masculinist, 2. Has elements of narrative theory, but largely dismissive of formal theories that have been extremely useful and formative for me, 3. Has that unflattering habit of narrative theorists, nonetheless, to pick and choose narratives f ...more
Christina "6 word reviewer" Lake
Plotting is essentially, inevitably, gloriously human.
Paul Toth
Nov 03, 2011 Paul Toth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whether or not you "ratify" Freud's views, Brooks' use of the pleasure principle as a guide to narrative structure will please even Freudianphobes. An enjoyable and enlightening read.
May 21, 2008 Teresa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strange mix of narrative theory and psychoanalysis. The first two chapters are worth reading.
Jan 12, 2013 Andrei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Freud is the hypotext of everything pop culture has produced in the last decades.
Jan 27, 2013 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Among my most post-it-ed, loved-to-pieces works of criticism.
mentioned in Charles Baxter's The Art of Subtext.
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Peter Brooks is the author of Henry James Goes to Paris, Realist Vision, Troubling Confessions, Reading for the Plot, The Melodramatic Imagination, and a number of other books, including the historical novel World Elsewhere. He taught for many years at Yale, where he was Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature, and currently is Andrew W. Mellon Scholar at Princeton.
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