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Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  185 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews

Since its first publication in English in 1985, Mieke Bal's Narratology has become the international classic and comprehensive introduction to the theory of narrative texts. Narratology is a systematic account of narrative techniques, methods, their transmission, and reception, in which Bal distills years of study of the ways in which we understand both literary and non-li

Paperback, 164 pages
Published November 1st 1985 by University of Toronto Press (first published 1978)
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Theryn Fleming
In Narratology, Mieke Bal argues that a narrative text can be divided into three layers: the fabula (elements, or series of events), the story (aspects, e.g. ordering, point of view), and the text (words). At each level there is an agent: fabula (actor, or agent who performs actions), story (focalizer, or subject of focalization), and text (narrator, or linguistic subject). The first two chapters (fabula, story) were clearly presented and fairly straightforward, the third chapter (text) a little ...more
Bernard Norcott-mahany
This is supposed to be an excellent introduction to narratology, which I suppose it is, but I guess my head just wasn't up to reading what seemed to me a dry analysis of what makes a story a story. I suppose it's time for me to find and reread Cohan and Shires' "Telling Stories," which I think does the same job but with a little more verve.
I read (most of) this book for a course in narratology which I audited years ago. Am thinking of rereading it now, having run into someone who works on the incredibly awesome topic of Narrative AIs for video games. Not sure this is exactly the topic which most parallels that concern in the humanities, but hey, I should reread this anyway.
Jul 26, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not as if this book has a lot in it to surprise-- I think most people who come to it know what they are getting into, a famously "systematic" take on narrative theory, with a share of complicated symbols, etc. But despite some sort of short-sighted statements, like the claim that a narrative is a among other things, a text with a first and last word, this is a remarkably durable book, and one that seems at least open to the possibility that readers process texts as they go along, not only a ...more
Nov 24, 2008 Mick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I read academic texts for information, sometimes for edification, and sometimes, simply because I want to brush up on my jargon in a particular area. This latter reason was why I picked up this book. It is groundbreaking in that Bal was one of the first to really codify the theory of narrotology into a field of study. And, on some levels, the discussion is useful... particularly the ways in which narrotology can offer a critical perspective outside of literature.

Beyond the jargon, how
Sue Bridgwater
Jan 26, 2016 Sue Bridgwater rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging and mostly readable book on narratology and its developments.
Apr 02, 2008 robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: freaks and weirdos
This book is essential - if you're interested in narratology - the study of narrative. most people aren't. this book is extremely dry, but gains in clarity in a pretty difficult topic. it's hopelessly structuralist, but mieke bal does a good job, in this second edition, to tie narratology to other means of doing ideological critique.
Interesante estudio de la focalización y un vistazo muy superficial al resto de características de la narrativa. Dicho esto es el libro peor formateado que me he echado a la cara, se han limitado a escanearlo con un montón de erratas y un magnifico indice analítico que te manda a páginas que no están numeradas. Bien señores.
Apr 23, 2009 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thin book in which Bal analyzes the techniques of narrative, including the duration of a representation, its frequency, and its chronological order. Her discussion of focalization is particularly good.
May 25, 2013 Norm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brutal read - if this is the easiest book on Narratology then it's a tough discipline!! But in the end I feel smarter and will never see the world the same way again.
Feb 22, 2012 Pimpawan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A revisited conceptual frameworks of narratology, packed with tons of academic gibberish that are useful when you need to cite something 'sophisticated'.
Jan 31, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time I've read a analytic discussion of the elements of narrative. It's good. I'd love to find more like this. Any suggestions?
Kriangkrai Vathanalaoha
I love this book...Easy to understand and practical to anyone who loves Narratology.
Dec 07, 2011 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Was very useful for my thesis, but I am unlikely to read it again.
Jul 08, 2009 Emily marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I can not understand it well
Emily Care
Good fundamental work. Dense.
Sep 20, 2010 Desi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grammar for narratives.
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Mieke Bal is a Dutch literary theorist, cultural and art historian.
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