Aristotle, & Heath, M. (1996). Poetics. London: Penguin Books. Also available at Possibly the earliest extant example of narrative theory, though the word used for “poetics” was closer to analyzing theater, the narrative of the day, than the typically text-heavy approaches of modern theorists.  Still a surprisingly relevant document. – Will Kent.

Barthes, R. (1974). S/Z: An essay. New York: Hill and Wang. Structuralist approach, borrowed from linguistics to break down narrative into its smallest possible meaningful components, “semes,” and contributed to the development of “semotics,” a way of analyzing both literary and cultural meanings.  In S/Z, his nearly 300-page analysis of a short story by Balzac, Barthes both developed five codes for the different types of narrative significance and pushed structuralist literary analysis to its logical conclusion, contributing to the development of post-structuralist thought. – Will Kent

Campbell, J. (2008). The hero with a thousand faces. Novato, Calif: New World Library. Cross-cultural mythologist approach, analyzed key religious stories from many cultures in terms of their commonalities (including the stories of Prometheus, Buddha, and Moses).  Popularized the idea of the hero’s journey or the “monomyth,” a story structure with three stages:  Departure (or Separation), Initiation, and Return.  Campbell was influenced by Carl Jung’s ideas and focused heavily on religious story sources in his scholarship. – Will Kent

Gubrium, Aline.  (2009) Digital storytelling: an emergent method for health promotion research and practice.  Health Promotion Practice, 10:2, 186-191. Beyond reviewing Digital Storytelling and applying it to health promotion, this article presents some interesting benefits that came from application of the technique in this setting, including the value for reflective process and conflict resolution.

Propp, V., Dundes, A., & Wagner, L. A. (2005). Morphology of the folktale. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press. Russian Formalist approach, broke Russian folktale narratives down into “narratemes” or their smallest narrative units.  He created a typology of narrative structures, including 31 narrative functions (which occur in sequence) and 8 characters types through analysis of 100 Russian folk tales. – Will Kent

Toelken, B. (1996). The dynamics of folklore. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press. Folkloristic approach, focuses on the performance of the folktale or other cultural performance (joke, ritual, etc.) to analyze how the “same” story or ritual is enacted in different places, times, and for different cultural audiences, discussing “insiders” and “outsiders” extensively .  Defines folklore as characterized by a dynamic process of repeated performance that is neither entirely replicative nor entirely unique. – Will Kent

Examples Their philosophy aligns directly with our class; “SmartMeme uses the power of narrative to advance a holistic vision of grassroots social change that connects struggles for democracy, peace, justice, and ecological sanity.” – Helen Jentzen and (public radio shows also available via podcast) I think they are great examples of how stories and personal narratives can be interwoven with music. They also show how even the simplest stories can be fascinating when they are laid out effectively. – Stacey Snyder I subscribe to the weekly podcast and attended a story slam in Brooklyn, NY over spring break.  It is a live storytelling event where people tell unscripted stories based on the night’s theme. – Stacey Snyder “Catbeard”, by Ross Thompson.  This was shown at the Storytelling Festival in April.  It’s a cute and entertaining original story paired with drawings. – Stacey Snyder During our discussions of the parts of a story and the importance (or unimportance) of the three acts and of the role rules play in storytelling today, Steve Martin’s autobiography Born Standing Up came to mind. It’s not exactly a storytelling resource per se, but as stand-up comedy is a form of storytelling that is very demanding, yet sometimes very rote or formulaic. – Chad Garland Ira Glass on Storytelling. Part 1/4 Known for his NPR show, This American Life, Ira Glass is an experienced host, journalist, and storyteller.  In this series he breaks down the structure of stories, what moves them forward, and what pulls us in. Although not digital, Speak! is a great way to see storytelling locally. – Stacey Snyder Here’s the link to a blog entry by UIUC Creative Writing professor Philip Graham on his idea of “point of entry/departure” as opposed to “beginnings” and “endings” for stories:

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