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Ian Reid

What do we really know about other people, even those closest to us? In one of Chekhov’s most famous stories, the supreme adulterer Gurov takes the view that authentic life is always lived in secret (though, of course, he would say that). Marriage offers no ready access to another person’s history, as a young wife discovers in Ian Reid’s début novel,

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.

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