ENGL 6470/7470

Studies in Narratology

Summer Session 2, 2011

Room: PH 300 | Time: MTWR 330-550


About This Course | About David Lavery | Texts | Class Members |  Course Requirements | Power Points| Agenda | Narratology Blog | Endings Blog | Websites, Links, Readings | Narrative Texts


"Critical terms are rare pearls born of the irritation that the mind feels at not being able to account to itself for something it repeatedly encounters."

Jacques Barzun


About This Course

According to the catalog description, 6470/7470

Examines modern and contemporary theories of narrative (modernist, rhetorical, structuralist, dialogical) with particular application to selected authors and texts.

In his Introduction to Narratology website, Dino Felluga observes helpfully.

Narratology examine the ways that narrative structures our perception of both cultural artifacts and the world around us. The study of narrative is particularly important since our ordering of time and space in narrative forms constitutes one of the primary ways we construct meaning in general. As Hayden White puts it, "far from being one code among many that a culture may utilize for endowing experience with meaning, narrative is a meta-code, a human universal on the basis of which transcultural messages about the nature of a shared reality can be transmitted" (Content 1). Given the prevalence and importance of narrative media in our lives (television, film, fiction), narratology is also a useful foundation to have before one begins analyzing popular culture.

And in his Glossary of Literary Terms, M. H. Abrams explains:

Narratology denotes a recent concern with narrative in general. It deals especially with the identification of structural elements and their diverse modes of combination, with recurrent narrative devices, and with the analy­sis of the kinds of discourse by which a narrative gets told. This theory picks up and elaborates upon many topics in traditional treatments of fictional narratives, from Aristotle's Poetics to Wayne Booth's The Rhetoric of Fiction (1961), but applies to them concepts and analytic procedures which derive from recent developments in Russian formalism and especially in French structuralism. Narratologists treat a narrative not in the traditional way, as a fictional representation of life, but as a systematic formal construction.

Dr. David Lavery

Office: PH 372 | Office Hours: Office Hours:  by arrangement | E-mail: david.lavery@gmail.com | Office Phone/Voice-Mail: 615-898-5648 | Home Page: http://davidlavery.net/

Dr. David Lavery is Professor of English at MTSU (1993- ). The author of over one hundred twenty published essays, chapters, and reviews, he is author / co-author / editor / co-editor of twenty three books, including Joss: A Creative Portrait of the Maker of the Whedonverses and The Essential Cult Television Reader. The organizer of international conferences on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Sopranos, a founding co-editor of the journals Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies and Critical Studies in Television, he has lectured around the world on the subject of television (Australia, Turkey, the UK, Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany) and has been a guest/source for the BBC, NPR, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The New York Times, A Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Publica (Portugal), Information (Netherlands), AP, The Toronto Star, USA Today. From 2006-2008, he taught at Brunel University in London.





Narrative Reader, hereafter NR

[This book is available electronically on the Walker Library website.]

Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory, hereafter ENT


Click on the images to go to the Amazon page

for each book or order online from any other seller.



Class Members

Laura Black [Group A] | Sandra Cavender [Group B] | Alyssa Dawson [Group C] | Charles Elmore [Group D] | Gary Gravely [Group A] | Dawn Hall [Group B] | Mick Howard [Group C] | Joy Smith [Group D] | Sally Vandenburg [Group A] | Jesse Williams [Group B] | Shayna Wood [Group C] 


Group ABlack | Gravely | Vandenburg

Group BCavender | Hall | Williams

Group CDawson | Howard | Wood

Group DElmore | Smith



Course Requirements

Three essays [75% of grade], each at least 1,000 words in length, each an application of a narratological concept to a narrative work in a different medium/genre: theatre; poetry; short fiction; the novel; the epic; autobiography; television; film; dance; music, children's literature; folklore [Essay 1: 20% of grade; Essay 2: 25% of grade; Essay 3: 30% of grade].

Class participation [25% of grade]:

(1) Involvement in class discussion of daily readings in NR on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

(2) Presentations of lexicon items [L] on Mondays and Wednesdays [see agenda for group assignments]

(3) Presentations of narrative specimens [NS] at each class meeting: a novel, a short story, an ad, a television series/show/episode, a movie, a song, a videogame, a music video, a painting, an opera, a comic book/graphic novel, etc. [see agenda for group assignments]

(4) Presentations of Endings, brief accounts of narrative endings (and closure) [all class members will present each Thursday]


Power Points

Campbell's Monomyth Chronology of Narrative Theory in the 20th Century Death of the Author
Major Figures in Narratology Narrative Lexicon A-C Narrative Lexicon D-F
Narrative Lexicon G-I Narrative Lexicon J-M Narrative Lexicon N-O
Narrative Lexicon P-R Narrative Lexicon S The Narrative Lexicon T-Z
Propp's Functions Thoughts on Narrative Television Narrative







Reading Assignment

Course Requirements

Class Participation



M 6/6

Intro to the Course

NR 1-33 


T 6/7

Form and Discourse

NR 37-74


W 6/8

Narrative Lexicon A-C

ENT 1-93; NR 314-16

L: Group A | NS: Group B


Th 6/9


NR 75-127

Endings (all)



M 6/13

Narrative Lexicon D-F

ENT 95-191; NR 316-19

L: Group C | NS: Group D


T 6/14


NR 129-174

NS: Group A


W 6/15

Narrative Lexicon G-I

ENT 193-264; NR 319-21

L: Group B | NS: Group C


Th 6/16


NR 177-197

Endings (all)



M 6/20

Narrative Lexicon J-M

ENT 265-335; NR 321-22

L: Group D | NS: Group A | E 1 Due


T 6/21

Sexual Difference

NR 198-219

NS: Group B


W 6/22

Narrative Lexicon N-O

ENT 337-415; NR 322-25

L: Group C | NS: Group D


Th 6/23


NR 220-243

Endings (all)



M 6/27

Narrative Lexicon P-R

ENT 417-509; NR 325-26

L: Group A | NS: Group B | E 2 Due


T 6/28


NR 244-261

NS: Group C


W 6/29

Narrative Lexicon S

ENT 511-80; NR 326-28

L: Group D | NS: Group A


Th 6/30

Conferences (PH 372, 230-430)



T 7/5

History, Race

NR 284-308

L: Group B | NS: Group C | E 3 Due


W 7/6

Narrative Lexicon T-Z

ENT 581-637; NR 328-29

NS: Group D


Th 7/7

Endings (all)