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Narrative is a powerful element of human culture, storing and sharing the cherished parts of our personal memories and giving structure to our laws, entertainment, and history. We experience narrative in a number of different ways, in words, pictures, and film. Yet regardless of how a tale is told, a story exists independently of the media that make it concrete. Narrative follows humans wherever they travel and adapts readily to new forms of communication. Constantly evolving and always up-to-date, narrative is a necessary strategy of human expression and a fundamental component of human identity.
In order to understand human interaction, we must examine the nature of narrative, its variation in different contexts, and the method through which it makes meaning. Breaking away from traditional forms of analysis, award-winning scholar Rick Altman introduces a new approach to studying narrative, identifying three basic strategies: single focus, dual focus, and multiple focus. Analyzing an intentionally diverse selection of texts, Altman demonstrates how these strategies function in context, and illustrates their theoretical and practical applications in terms of textual analysis, literary and film history, social organization, religion, and politics. Altman employs his inventive terminology and precise analytical methods throughout this groundbreaking work, making it an ideal teaching tool for literary and film theory courses and for the general reader interested in exploring narrative.
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