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Story and Situation

Narrative Seduction and the Power of Fiction

1984
Author:

Ross Chambers
Foreword by Wlad Godzich

Story and Situation

Studies the relation between teller and listener in a set of French, English, and American short stories from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Studies the relation between teller and listener in a set of French, English, and American short stories from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Ross Chambers shifs the emphasis to precisely the play of authority and mastery by focusing on the narrative situation or the “point” of telling a story in given context. He studies the relation between teller and listener in a set of French, English, and American short stories from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and detects in that relationship the key to the power of fiction. In each of these stories, the author identifies the narrative situation by recourse to the metaphor of seduction, a phenomenon Chambers finds characteristic of literary production in the modern period.

“Story and Situation is a powerful work of criticism, the best work in short narrative I know, and will redirect critics’ attention to a form which has always engaged readers but has recently been neglected by literary theorists. . . . It is clear, assured, and intelligently paced.”-Jonathan Culler, Cornell University

Story and Situation

Ross Chambers is professor of French and comparative literature at the University of Michigan.

Wlad Godzich teaches comparative literature at the University of Minnesota.

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