Emeritus, Research Professor
Porter Abbott is Research Professor Emeritus in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his B.A. from Reed College, and his M.A. & Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.
- Narrative & narrative theory
- 19th & 20th-century literature
- Literature, cognition, evolution
Articles & Chapters:
- "Character & Fictionality" in Henrik Scov Nielsen, et al, eds. Fictionality and Literature: Core Concepts Revisited (forthcoming 2018).
- "Character, singularity, & rhetorical modeling: A Response to James Phelan," Style 52.1-2 (forthcoming 2018).
- "What Does it Mean to Be Mad? Diagnosis, Narrative, Science, & the DSM" in Robyn Warhol & Zara Dinnen, eds. Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Narrative Theories (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2018).
- "Virginia Woolf and the Re-Invention of the Novel" in James Acheson, ed. Virginia Woolf (Palgrave, 2017).
- “Fiction, Fitness, and Failure,” Poetics Today 37.4 (review article, 2016).
- “Strange Creatures Can Be Animals, too: A Response to Brian Richardson,” Style 50.4 2016).
- “How Do We Read What Isn’t There to be Read? Shadow Stories and Permanent Gaps," in Lisa Zunshine, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies (Oxford, 2014)
- "A Question of Leverage: A Response to Alan Palmer's 'Social Minds'," Style 45 (2011)
- “Reading Intended Meaning Where None is Intended: A Cognitivist Reappraisal of the Implied Author,” Poetics Today 32 (2011)
- "Time, Narrative, Life, Death, and Text-Type Distinctions: The Example of Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year," Narrative 19 (2011)
- “Law, Agency, and Unnarratable Action,” Michigan State University Law Review (2009)
- “Conversion in an Age of Darwinian Gradualism,”Storyworlds 2 (2010)
- “Garden Paths and Ineffable effects: Abandoning Representation in Literature and Film,” in Toward a Theory of Narrative Acts (University of Texas Press, 2010)
- “The Legacy of Samuel Beckett: an Anatomy” in A Companion to Samuel Beckett (Blackwell, 2010)
- “Narrativity,” in Handbook of Narratology (Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2009; revised 2013); also available on-line as The Living Handbook of Narratology <http://www.lhn.uni-hamburg.de/>
- “Unreadable Minds and the Captive Reader,” Style 43:1 (2009)
- “Immersions in the Cognitive Sublime: The Textual Experience of the Extratextual Unknown in García Márquez and Beckett,” Narrative 17:2 (spring 2009)
- “Narrative and Emergent Behavior,” Poetics Today 29 (2008)
- “I Am Not a Philosopher,” in Samuel Becket at 100 (Oxford University Press, 2008)
- “Story, Plot, and Narration,” in The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (Cambridge, 2007)
- “The Future of All Narrative Futures,” in The Blackwell Companion to Narrative Theory (Blackwell, 2005)
- “Murphy as Modernist novel” in The Blackwell Modernist Literature and Culture (Blackwell, 2004)
- “Egregious Omissions: Samuel Beckett and the Theory and Practice of Narrative Gaps,” in The Palgrave Guide to Beckett Studies (Macmillan Palgrave, 2004)
- “Unnarratable Knowledge: the Difficulty of Understanding Evolution by Natural Selection” in Narrative Theory and the Cognitive Sciences (Stanford: CSLI, 2003)
- "Humanists, Scientists, & the Cultural Surplus," SubStance 94/95 (March 2001)
- “Beckett’s Lost Worlds: The Artful Exhaustion of a 19th-Century Genre,” Journal of Beckett Studies 11:1 (spring 2001)
- "What Do We Mean When We Say "Narrative Literature"? Looking for Answers Across Disciplinary Borders," Style 34:2 (summer 2000)
- "The Evolutionary Origins of the Storied Mind: Modeling the Prehistory of Narrative Consciousness and its Discontents," Narrative 8:3 (October 2000)
- "Beckett's Lawlessness: Evolutionary Psychology & Genre," Samuel Beckett Today/Ajourd'hui (2000)
- "Samuel Beckett & the Arts of Time: Painting, Music, Narrative" in Samuel Beckett & the Arts (Garland, 1999)
- "Extratextual Intelligence," New Literary History 28:4 (Fall 1997)
- "Old Virginia and the Night Writer: The Origins of Woolf's Narrative Meander" in Inscribing the Daily: Critical Essays on Women's Diaries (University of Massachusetts Press, 1996)
- "Character and Modernism: Reading Woolf Writing Woolf" New Literary History 24:2 (1993)
- "Beginning Again: The Post-Narrative Art of Texts for Nothing and How It Is" in The Cambridge Companion to Samuel Beckett (Cambridge, 1993)
- "Writing and Conversion: Conrad's Modernist Autography," Yale Journal of Criticism 5:3 (1992)
Selected Earlier Articles
- “Autobiography, Autography, Fiction: Toward a Taxonomy of Literary Categories,” New Literary History 19 (1988)
- “The Harpooned Notebook: Malone Dies and the Conventions of Intercalated Narrative,” in Samuel Beckett: Humanistic Perspectives (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1983)
- “Letters to the Self: the Cloistered Writer in Nonretrospective Fiction,” PMLA 95 (January 1980)
- “Saul Bellow and the ‘Lost Cause’ of Fiction,” Novel 13 (spring 1980)
- “Organic Form in the Autobiography of a Convert: the Example of Malcolm X,” CLA Journal 23 (December 1979)
Falling Slowly Dreaming of Flight: Poems and Stories (Ajbabnoktet, 2016)
Cold Certainties and Changes Beyond Measure (Barth, 1988) [poetry Chapbook]
- Book: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, 3rd edition
- Book: Darwinian Gradualism and Modernist Saltation: Modeling Personal Transformation, 1880-1925.
“H. Porter Abbott” [interview], in Peer F. Bundgaard, Peer F., Henrik Skov Nielsen, & Frederik Stjernfelt, eds., Narratology: Five Questions (Copenhagen: Automatic Press/VIP, 2012), pp. 1-9.