About the author: David K. Danow is Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Models of Narrative: Theory and Practice (1997), The Spirit of Carnival: Magical Realism and the Grotesque (1995), The Thought of Mikhail Bakhtin: From Word to Culture (1991), and The Dialogic Sign: Essays on the Major Novels of Dostoevsky (1991). He has also published some sixty articles on world literature and literary theory.2003 0-7734-6552-9
This study opens with an extensive introductory essay focused on the concept that there is no story without some kind of transformation. It ranges over centuries and across literatures in order to document clearly and concisely how this omnipresent feature of narrative actually works. Various aspects of transformation are investigated and elaborated, including problems of ontology and teleology, progression and regression, discovery and recovery, physical and psychological change, literal and figural formulations, truth and lie, physics and metaphysics. Eight principal chapters are devoted to classic works: the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, Decameron, Canterbury Tales, Tom Jones, Jacques the Fatalist, Anna Karenina, and Ulysses. A centrally situated essay treating Don Quixote links the first four chapters with the second four. Profound shifts, changes, and reversals of plot find their place here in a wide-ranging discussion aimed also to evoke a focused sense and reminiscence of selected masterworks of world literature.