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Prose Fiction: An Introduction to the Semiotics of Narrative

Author: Ignasi Ribó
Subject: Literature
Source: Open Textbook Library
Publisher: Open Book Publishers
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This concise and highly accessible textbook outlines the principles and techniques of storytelling. It is intended as a high-school and college-level introduction to the central concepts of narrative theory – concepts that will aid students in developing their competence not only in analysing and interpreting short stories and novels/ but also in writing them. This textbook prioritises clarity over intricacy of theory/ equipping its readers with the necessary tools to embark on further study of literature/ literary theory and creative writing. Building on a ‘semiotic model of narrative/’ it is structured around the key elements of narratological theory/ with chapters on plot/ setting/ characterisation/ and narration/ as well as on language and theme – elements which are underrepresented in existing textbooks on narrative theory. The chapter on language constitutes essential reading for those students unfamiliar with rhetoric/ while the chapter on theme draws together significant perspectives from contemporary critical theory (including feminism and postcolonialism). This textbook is engaging and easily navigable/ with key concepts highlighted and clearly explained/ both in the text and in a full glossary located at the end of the book. Throughout the textbook the reader is aided by diagrams/ images/ quotes from prominent theorists/ and instructive examples from classical and popular short stories and novels (such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice/ Franz Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis/’ J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter/ or Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov/ amongst many others). Prose Fiction: An Introduction to the Semiotics of Narrative can either be incorporated as the main textbook into a wider syllabus on narrative theory and creative writing/ or it can be used as a supplementary reference book for readers interested in narrative fiction. The textbook is a must-read for beginning students of narratology/ especially those with no or limited prior experience in this area. It is of especial relevance to English and Humanities major students in Asia/ for whom it was conceived and written.

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