In what context was this essay written? To what currents of thought is it most indebted?
What does Todorov mean by saying that structural analysis is intended to be theoretical and non-descriptive? (2099)
How does his method differ from New Criticism? What criticism does he make of the latter? (2100, reduces all to paraphrase)
Would Cleanth Brooks have agreed with this definition of "New Criticism"?
What does it mean to say that structural analysis is concerned "with the literary discourse rather than works of literature"? (2100)
How does one view individual works? (to see what they have in common with others)
What are his objections to Henry James' claim that "a novel is a living thing, all one and continuous," and thus not subject to analysis into structural categories? (2101)
How does he respond to those who say that literary analysis is inherently subjective? (2102)
How does Todorov seek to categorize plots? What example does he use, and how may these be typical or atypical? (The tales he chooses seem to share an element of sexual wish fantasy, dislike of authority; he ignores their frame and context, the Bubonic Plague.)
(Boccaccian plots have much of their meaning on the surface, in contrast, say, to a 19th century novel such as Middlemarch with significant moral and psychological content)
To what extent do you think modern fiction will follow similar rules to those of Boccaccio's fablieaux?
What are some features he notes in these tales? (use of subjects, predicates, adjectives, repetition, 2104)
How should we examine an individual tale?
(for narrative syntax, theme, rhetoric; narrative, mood (i. e., intent, didactic, wish fantasy, etc.), sequence or point of view, parallelism, 2104)
What may be omitted from such categories, if anything? (humor, irony, authorial intent, social purpose)
What seems Todorov's notion of thematic study? (2104) Does this seem fair to the Decameron?
What is the purpose of further study of narrative? (more precise description of plots)
What is Todorov's notion of a basic plot? (moves from equilibrium to disequilibrium and returns, 1205; avoidance of punishment, conversion) To what extent is this helpful?
Do his categories apply meaningfully to poetry?
What does it mean to say that "literature becomes only a mediator, a language, which poetics uses for dealing with itself"? (2105)
What should be the goal of the new field of narratology? (study of methodology, 2106)
What do you think are the contributions of Todorov's approach? Its limits?