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Posts in “Narrative Theory”


Mar 21, 2007
Is is just me, or do they look as if they are offering their daughters to the sun? Yes, I’ve been reading Voegelin a bit. One of the panels I attended at the recent Narrative Conference was a roundtable discussion on Against The Day. Several eminent Pynchon scholars participated. I haven’t finished the book (been reading it slowly and enjoying it), but I’m wondering about immediate popular culture influences. Deadwood seems obvious, though this could simply be an artifact of having watched it recently, but I seem to hear it in the dialogue and it’s hard to imagine Pynchon not catching on to the HBO renascence.

Totality and the Genes of Literature

Jan 16, 2006
My contribution to the Moretti event: “Suppose at this juncture we were to state the blindingly obvious: that, whatever their other properties, literary texts do not possess genes” (59). So begins the “Perils of Analogy” section of Christopher Prendergast’s response* to Moretti. Notwithstanding the Paris Review interviews, it does seem difficult to maintain that literature has genes. Does it have memes, however? Ideologemes? Maybe. And I will discuss metaphors of cultural transmission and evolutionary analogies in Moretti’s argument.

Story Logic

Apr 16, 2005
My review-essay, “Cognitive Storyworlds,” on David Herman’s Story Logic appears in the 38.1 edition of Style. Here’s a paragraph which touches upon one of my current research interests: One immediate example of this is what might be termed the ontological properties of narrative for Herman. What is the relation between narrative and language? The answer is that language is an “interface between narrative and cognition” (5). Whereas the theories of language and narrative are both modular components of cognitive science, language itself is not an autonomous cognitive function but is anterior to narrative.