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In Pursuit of Narrative Dynamics

A Study of James Phelan’s Rhetorical Theory of Narrative


Biwu Shang

This book makes an intensive study of James Phelan’s rhetorical theory of narrative. Apart from illustrating six basic principles in doing rhetorical theory of narrative, the author examines six major issues which are central to Phelan’s rhetorical poetics, namely, focalization, character narration, unreliable narration, narrative progression, narrative judgments, and narrative ethics. For each narratological concept, the author minutely conducts a genealogical study to make the review work complete. The book not only compares Phelan’s rhetorical narratology with classical narratology but also with other strands of postclassical narratology. A detailed bibliography makes this book a compendium of narrative theory which is of relevance for scholars and students of all literary disciplines.