H. Porter Abbott
The Evolutionary Origins of the Storied Mind:
Modeling the Pre-History of Narrative Consciousness and its Discontents
Forthcoming in Narrative, October 2000



This essay is a response to the question: To what extent can a scholar of narrative plausibly triangulate from narrative as it is currently (and universally) deployed the significant stages of development that produced this common gift? In constructing the three-stage model proposed in this article, I draw on three fundamental distinctions in narrative theory – two ancient, the distinctions between mimesis and diegesis and between history and fiction; and one modern, between story and narrative discourse (fabula and sjuzhet) – to propose a pre-historical sequence consisting of three stages. I suggest at the same time what appear to me the deep consequences of the trade-off we made as a species when we acquired this extraordinary gift. Taking the long view can put a new perspective on much that we take for granted.


Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles