Narrative Beginnings


Narrative Beginnings

Theories and Practices

Edited by Brian Richardson

Frontiers of Narrative Series

296 pages


January 2009


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

January 2009


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

George Eliot wrote that “man cannot do without the make-believe of a beginning.” Beginnings, it turns out, can be quite unusual, complex, and deceptive. The first major volume to focus on this critical but neglected topic, this collection brings together theoretical studies and critical analyses of beginnings in a wide range of narrative works spanning several centuries and genres. The international and interdisciplinary scope of these essays, representing every major theoretical perspective—including feminist, cognitive, postcolonial, postmodern, rhetorical, ethnic, narratological, and hypertext studies—extends from classic literary fiction to nonfictional discourse to popular culture.
The authors, respected scholars and emerging critics, ask what conventions structure our understanding of beginnings before we encounter them; how best to analyze and comprehend beginnings in historical, traditional, and postmodern works; and how endings are (often unexpectedly) related to beginnings. The contributors use historical, political, narratological, and psychological frameworks to pursue these and related questions in works by Laurence Sterne, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, Manuel Puig, Salman Rushdie, Julia Alvarez, and feminist hypertext fiction. Together their essays comprise the single most important volume for theorizing about and understanding narrative beginnings.

Author Bio

Brian Richardson is a professor of English at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Unnatural Voices: Extreme Narration in Modern and Contemporary Fiction and Unlikely Stories: Causality and the Nature of Modern Narrative, and the editor of Narrative Dynamics: Essays on Plot, Time, Closure, and Frames.
Contributors: Oliver Buckton, Philippe Carrard, Tita Chico, Ryan Claycomb, Melba Cuddy-Keane, Marilyn Edelstein, Patrick Colm Hogan, Jessica Laccetti, Niels Buch Leander, Gaura Shankar Narayan, Armine Kotin Mortimer, James Phelan, Carlos Riobo, Brian Richardson, Catherine Romagnolo, and Susan Winnett.

Table of Contents

Editor's Preface  000

Acknowledgments   000

Introduction: Narrative Beginnings 000

      Brian Richardson

Part 1. Origins, Paratexts, and Prototypes 000

1. To Begin with the Beginning: Birth, Origin, and Narrative Inception 000

      Niels Buch Leander

2. Before the Beginning: Nabokov and the Rhetoric of the Preface 000

      Marilyn Edelstein

3. Stories, Wars, and Emotions: The Absoluteness of Narrative Beginnings 000

      Patrick Colm Hogan

4. September 1939: Beginnings, Historical Narrative, and the Outbreak of World War II 000

      Philippe Carrard

Part 2. Beginnings in Narrative Literature 000

5. "The More I Write, the More I Shall Have to Write": The Many Beginnings of Tristram Shandy 000

      Tita Chico

6. Virginia Woolf and Beginning's Ragged Edge 000

      Melba Cuddy-Keane

7. A Theory of Narrative Beginnings and the Beginnings of "The Dead" and Molloy 000

      Brian Richardson

8. Heartbreak Tango: Manual Puig's Counter-Archive 000

      Carlos Riobó

9. Lost Beginnings in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children

      Gaura Shankar Narayan 000

10. Recessive Origins in Julia Alvarez's Garcia Girls: A Feminist Exploration of Narrative Beginnings 000

      Catherine Romagnolo

11. Curtain Up? Disrupted, Disguised, and Delayed Beginnings in Theater and Drama   000

      Ryan Claycomb

12. Where to Begin? Multiple Narrative Paths in Web Fiction 000

      Jessica Laccetti

Part 3. Beginnings and/as Endings 000

13. The Beginning of Beloved: A Rhetorical Approach 000

      James Phelan

14. Connecting Links: Beginnings and Endings 000

      Armine Kotin Mortimer

15. "Mr. Betwixt-and-Between": The Politics of Narrative Indeterminacy in Stevenson's Kidnapped and David Balfour 000

      Oliver Buckton

16. Maculate Reconceptions 000

      Susan Winnett

Further Reading on Narrative Beginnings 000

Contributors      000

Index 000

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