Countering the tendency to view the novel as the paradigm case of literary narrative, authors in the original edition offered a compelling history of the genre narrative from antiquity to the twentieth-century, even as they carried out their main task of describing and analyzing the nature of narrative's main elements: meaning, character, plot, and point of view.
Their history emphasized the broad sweep of literary narrative from ancient times to the contemporary period, and it included a chapter on the oral heritage of written narrative and an appendix on the interior monologue in ancient texts.
The fortieth anniversary edition of this groundbreaking work has been revised and expanded to include a new preface and a lengthy chapter on developments in narrative theory since 1966 by James Phelan. This chapter describes the principles and practices of structuralist, cognitive, feminist, and rhetorical approaches to narrative, paying special attention to their work on plot, character, and narrative discourse. A continued leader in the field of narrative studies, The Nature of Narrative offers unique and invaluable histories of both narrative and narrative theory.