Cover

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Frontmatter

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Title Page

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p. iii

Copyright Page

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p. iv

Table of Contents

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p. v

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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p. ix

I am deeply grateful to the following scholars for their extensive comments on earlier draft s of the manuscript: David Herman, Ohio State University; Birte L

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Introduction

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pp. 1-22

Stories inform our lives. The prince who renounces his kingdom to seek the meaning of life; the warrior who returns home after many travails and is reunited with his faithful wife; the ingénue who learns to find her way in a corrupt world; and the valet who rescues his master from embarrassments and entanglements — these stories live on in our ...

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1. Timelines

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pp. 23-44

Time is central to narrative. In a few minutes or hours, a story can take us into the world of fascinating characters, where we experience their lives as lived in the moment or remembered and anticipated. A novel may advance the story forward, hastening toward a climax, or skip back-ward, filling in details of a deviant childhood; it may take time to set up ...

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2. Stories within Stories

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pp. 45-55

Narratives often have multiple narrators, with consonant or dissonant voices, resulting in the production of stories within stories, unfurling When a character in a narrative imagines or remembers something, that something involves subordination. Quotation is also a form of subordination.1 Thus the act of telling a story assumes a world, of narrator, ...

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3. Computing Timelines

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pp. 56-77

Thus far our model of timelines has been illustrated by means of diagrams. These diagrams may not seem to differ much in overall structure The crucial diff erence, however, is that the timeline diagrams here are shorthand for representations that are computable. That is, these representations can be created automatically from texts in human...

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4. Calendar Times

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pp. 78-95

Proust, who suff ered from insomnia, drew attention in the opening paragraphs of Swann’s Way to the disorientation that can result when one wakes up confused about time:1...

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5. Time in Mind

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pp. 96-110

So far we have not addressed how humans actually understand time in stories. One would expect human processing of time in narratives to rely on more-general cognitive abilities, especially a capacity to reason about time. Such reasoning would involve the human brain’s ability to cleverly position events in time. But with respect to what time?...

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6. Characters in Time

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pp. 111-135

Consider the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the world’s most ancient poems. Gilgamesh starts out as a tyrant, hardly a character the reader identifies with. Enkidu, when introduced at the beginning of the epic, is immensely strong but almost entirely animalistic, a barbarian until Gilgamesh has him tamed by the love of the temple harlot Shamhat. Enkidu then ...

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7. Tracking Narrative Progression

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pp. 136-155

In chapter 6 (“Characters in Time”) narrative progression was modeled in terms of the reader’s evaluations of agents in the narrative, and the way these evaluations evolve over time, in terms of specific transitions and particular types of endings. These evaluations may coincide with agents being in places that are particularly significant for the narrative. ...

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8. Time Management

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pp. 156-175

The reader should by now be intrigued by the role computation can and could play in terms of tracking how characters evolve over a narrative. The computational approach can plot the trajectories of character’s lives in spatial and temporal terms, and it can compute the changes they effect on readers’ emotions. Since we are concerned with time, however, ...

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9. Digital Storytelling

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pp. 176-193

We tend to think that we are living in times of immense change, but people seem to have always believed so. The nostalgia for a golden age, simpler and less expensive — this sort of wishful thinking seems to have gone on since the habit of complaining fitst appeared among Homo sapiens...

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Conclusion

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pp. 194-198

The central claim of this book is that the timelines needed for understanding the temporal aspects of all human narratives can be represented based on the annotation scheme described here. In the many examples drawn from my favorite texts, including those discussed by narratological scholars, events and times in the narrative and their temporal and ...

Notes

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pp. 199-214

Glossary

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pp. 215-223

Tool and Resource Links

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pp. 225-226

References

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pp. 227-239

Index

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pp. 241-248