10.0632 story grammars

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 10:53:53 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 632.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Jan Christoph Meister <fs6a029@rrz.uni-hamburg.de> (89)
Subject: Story Grammars / HUMANIST 100616 (?)

[2] From: Patricia Galloway <galloway@mdah.state.ms.us> (10)
Subject: Re: 10.0621 story grammar

Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 09:44:06 +0100
From: Jan Christoph Meister <fs6a029@rrz.uni-hamburg.de>
Subject: Story Grammars / HUMANIST 100616 (?)

Re: Story Grammars

In response to the recent query on HUMANIST concerning story grammars:
there is indeed quite a considerable amount of research that draws on the
analogy between sentence and story structures. As Norm Holland already
remarked most of it is based on Propp's canonical work on the "Morphology o=
the Folk-Tale", and / or on various approaches in Transformational Grammar.
( A list of further publications of potential interest is attached at th=
end of this document.)=20

Concerning the development of programs for the analysis of narratives I
would think that Gerald Prince has presented the most rigidly formalised
(and thus: most readily "programmable" ) analysis of narrative yet. Among
the (comparatively few) more recent studies in narratology the work of
Thomas Pavel deserves particular attention. Thus Pavel:1985 presents a
synthetic approach, combining semiotics and narratology (following
previous studies by, among others, Greimas, Bremond, and Todorov). I have
tried to build on Pavel's work in EPITEST, a project in computer aided
analysis of elementary action structures in narratives (ref. Literary and
Linguistic Computing, , Vol. 10 / No.4, 1995, p. 263-270). In this context
a second program "MOVE PARSER" has now been developed which serves as a
mark-up tool for computer based analyses of story structures. Like
EPITEST, MOVE PARSER is based on Thomas Pavel's narratological and
A.J.Greimas' semantic theory respectively. An article on MOVE PARSER is
forthcoming (March / April 1997) in the electronic journal
"Computerphilologie", hopefully with a download feature for the software
itself. ("Computerphilologie" is at

Hope this helps,=20


PS: In a slightly different vein, but perhaps also worth taking note of: I
came across "Dramatica Pro 2.0", a commercial writer's program for the
development of "argument centred" story structures. Has anybody used it?
Further information on Dramatica is available somewhere on the WWW. Let me
stress - no affilitation on my part, though I must admit to marvelling at i=
for two reasons: a), I couldn't figure out which theory had been used but
was too stingy to buy it, and b), on the website were some bikini pictures
of the developer. The pics didn't compensate for the short coming in
theory, but introduced me to an altogether different approach in
narratology. What about HUMANIST - perhaps Willard would like to follow
suit ? =20

[Meanwhile, I note from a brief search the site at
<http://writerscomputer.com/wcstwo.htm> among several others for Dramatica
Pro and its kind. Perhaps further suggestions about the implementation of
story grammars in software would be welcome. --WM]


Mieke Bal: Narratology. An Introduction to the Theory of Narrative. Toronto=
Buffalo,London (University of Toronto Press):1985
Mieke Bal: The Point of Narratology. In: Poetics Today. Volume 11, Number 3=
Fall 1990, p.727-753
Dietrich Boueke und Frieder Sch=FClein: 'Story Grammars'. Zur Diskussion um
ein erz=E4hlstrukturelles Konzept und seine Konsequenzen f=FCr die
Erz=E4hldidaktik. In: Wagner, Die Rolle der Linguistik in der Pragmatik, 19=
Claude Bremond:Le message narratif. In: Communications, Vol.4/1964, pp 4-32=
Claude Bremond: Logique du r=E9cit. Paris (Seuil):1973.
Algirdas Julien Greimas:Elements of a narrative grammar. In: Diacritics, 7,
pp 23-40.
A.J.Greimas and J.Courtes: Semiotics and Language. An Analytical
Dictionary. Bloomington 1982.
Algirdas Julien Greimas: On Meaning. Selected Writings in Semiotic Theory.
Minneapolis (University of Minnesota Press), 1987. (=3D Theory and History =
Literature, Vol.38).=09
Jean M.Mandler/ Nancy S.Johnson: Erz=E4hlstruktur und Erinnerungsleistung.
Eine Grammatik einfacher Geschichten.In: Erz=E4hlforschung 3. Theorien,
Modelle und Methoden der Narrativik. Herausgegeben von Wolfgang Haubrichs.
G=F6ttingen (Vandenhoeck u. Ruprecht), 19??, S. 337-379 (=3DLiLi, Beiheft 8=
Erz=E4hlforschung 3) Original publication: Remembrance of Things Parsed:
Story Structure and Recall. In: Cognitive Psychology 9, 1977, 111-151
Thomas G. Pavel: Remarks on Narrative Grammars. In: Poetics,8,pp 5-30: 1973=
Thomas G.Pavel: The Poetics of Plot. The Case of the English Renaissance
Drama. Manchester(Manchester University Press):1985
Thomas G.Pavel: Narrative Tectonics. In: Poetics Today, 11:2 (Summer 1990),
Gerald Prince: A Grammar of Stories. The Hague (Mouton): 1973.
Gerald Prince: Narratology. The Form and Functioning of Narrative. Berlin,
New York, Amsterdam (Mouton): 1982


Jan Christoph Meister=20
Arbeitsstelle zur Sozialgeschichte der Literatur
Universitaet Hamburg
von Melle Park 6
20 176 Hamburg / Germany

E-Mail: Jan-C-Meister@rrz.uni-hamburg.de
Tel.: (+49)40-4123-5402 (w)
Tel.+Fax: (+49) -4532-7166 (h)

Date: Fri, 24 Jan 1997 15:58:55 -0500
From: Patricia Galloway <galloway@mdah.state.ms.us>
Subject: Re: 10.0621 story grammar

It may be no help at all, but in my dissertation I constructed a story=20
grammar based on both the Russian formalists and Chomsky back in 1973.=20
It's called "Transaction Units: An Approach to the Structural Study of=20
Narrative..." University of North Carolina, Comparative Literature,=20
1973. I actually later constructed a parser implementing some of it=20
(partly reported in "Testing a Theory of Narrative Analysis by=20
Computer," in Ager, Knowles, and Smith, Advances in Computer-Aided=20
Literary and Linguistic Research, 53-57, published by the University=20
of Birmingham in 1979).
Pat Galloway
Mississippi Department of Archives and History