Routledge, $49.95 hb, 276 pp
Ian Reid’s Narrative Exchanges argues against older formalist and structuralist approaches to narratology, from Propp to Todorov. They reduced the play of narrative by insisting that texts possess an underlying fundamental ground, a ‘basic unity’ that is the ‘primary constituent of narrative’. Structuralism treats texts as self-contained semiotic systems, emphasising consistency, linearity, interlinked sequences, completion. Structuralists exhibit a ‘compulsion’ to order and classify texts in rigid, invariable, almost algebraic ways.