Professor of Comparative Literature Peter J. Rabinowitz has co-authored Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates with James Phelan, David Herman, Brian Richardson and Robyn Warhol. In the book, published by Ohio State University Press, the authors examine each of the central concepts in current narrative theory from four perspectives: rhetorical (Rabinowitz and Phelan, writing together), feminist (Warhol), mind-oriented (Herman) and anti-mimetic (Richardson).
Rabinowitz said that although this format may appear to be similar to the “approaches to” books that have become common as theory courses multiply, “Narrative Theory is radically different in spirit.” Instead of putting together a number of independent essays or filtering all the approaches through a single author, Rabinowitz said the authors “conceived of this book as a unified collaborative effort from the very beginning.” He said “the project was discussed in detail before the writing began; the authors met and communicated extensively while the book was being drafted; and because the five authors know each other well, they were able to calibrate their own sections to accord with what they knew the others would be doing.”
Adding to the conversational aspect of the book, the authors end Narrative Theory with a section in which they look back and offer detailed responses to each other. “The result is a true conversation rather than a collection of viewpoints, and besides illustrating various approaches to narrative, Narrative Theory offers a model for vigorous, but respectful, debate,” Rabinowitz said. He added, “The conversation will be continuing on a special website devoted to the book.”