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DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


A theory of narrative based on premises provided by S tructuralism , especially the work of the French structural anthropologist Claude L évi-Strauss on myth. For Lévi-Strauss all myths are versions of basic themes, and the narrative structures of individual myths relate to a universal S tructure which underpins all of them. A myth is an instance of the operation of this universal structure, a relationship which is analogous to the distinction between L angue/parole advanced by Ferdinand de S aussure . In this scheme, a “mytheme” is an element of the universal structure which can appear in different mythic narratives. Lévi-Strauss reads myths in reference to one another in order to uncover the relations which structure their narrative. He develops from this operation a theory of the collective existence of certain elements, which he then posits as being somehow prior to the mythic narratives themselves, in a form of collective consciousness. Another fiqure crucial to the development of narratology is Vladimir P ropp , an exponent of R ussian formalism . He attempted to define the narrative elements common to all folk tales in a manner similar to that employed by Lévi-Strauss. Claude B remond is a later narratologist who most closely follows Propp, although he attempts to account for moments of choice in the narrative, moments which are structured by a relation of difference ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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