View Full Version : Major Figures in the History of Writing Theory - Who's Missing?

05-10-2012, 09:35 AM
This is a very rough first draft of a timeline of important publications in the field of writing theory. Date is of the theorist's major work relevant to writing theory. I am sure there are a ton of people missing from this list so please tell me who they are! :)

Aristotle 335 BCE
Scribe 1825
Freytag 1863
Polti 1895
Saussure 1916
Jung 1919
Propp 1928
Egri 1942
Campbell 1949
Levi-Strauss 1964
Keen and Fox, 1973
Swain 1975
Eliade 1976
Field 1979
Prince 1982
Noble and Noble 1985
Murdock 1990
Vogler 1992
Phillips and Huntley 1994
McKee 1997
Marshall 1998
Maas 2001
Frey 2002
Clay 2005
Ingermanson 2005
Truby 2007

Pirandello was in my original list but I couldn't find anywhere a description of what he actually wrote or lectured about his version of Jungian archetypes. Similarly, I could not find a clear statement about which myth theorist with which publication had originated the idea that myths explain why the world is the way it is. So yeah, this is a pretty lousy list so far, please help make it better. :)

05-10-2012, 09:56 AM
John Gardner

E.M. Forster

05-10-2012, 09:59 AM
Aww, I'm fond of the myth theorists (except Jung who is a sexist bastard), though it's been many, many years since I've read any of their work. Joseph Campbell is not quite as academic-y as some, but are you thinking of him? And many of the continental philosophers use narrative to explain why the world is the way it is - are you perhaps thinking of that? It's hard to separate literary theory and philosophy...

Anyway, these are the theorists/philosophers I notice are missing. I'm not a literary theory person but my spouse is. So I'm basically name-dropping. I've read a little from each of these people but it's been a long time.

T.S. Eliot
Schopenhauer (sexist douche)

And my personal favorite:

Wayne Booth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_C._Booth)

05-10-2012, 10:26 AM
Myths about the invention of the alphabet/writing (Thoth, Ogma etc.)
Sidney Apology/Defense of Poesy

Oh, hell; get a standard anthology of lit crit pre 1985, and Terry Eagleton's Literary Theory: An Introduction.

This is a sort of undergraduate survey course basic.

(And Sidney is The Best.)

05-10-2012, 10:51 AM
*facepalm* Terry Eagleton! Of course. This jogs my brain.

A few more:


Sadly, I can't remember any of the feminist theorists besides Irigaray.

Miss Plum
05-10-2012, 12:46 PM
William Wordsworth, 1793

05-30-2012, 01:42 AM

J. S. Mill maybe? (What is Poetry?)

Empson!!!! (Seven Types of Ambiguity)

Foucault and Barthes on the author/the death of the author.

Henry James (The Art of Fiction)

There are probably more but I haven't read most of the people on your list to be honest so you could have covered everything already. Also I'm guessing your list has an American bias whereas mine has a British. Actually my tutor was educated in America, so hmmmm.

Good luck! :)

06-06-2012, 10:45 AM
Most new books on story structure only rehash the work of Lajos Egri and Syd Field so I think it's right they are mentioned. Not sure what Maas, Frey or McKee have contributed to this field. I'd add the Dramatica guys Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley.

06-07-2012, 08:40 PM
Blake Snyder's Save the Cat series