chapter  7
22 Pages

The Nature of Narrative Suspense and the Problem of Rereading

WithWilliam F. Brewer

This chapter attempts to give an account of the nature of narrative suspense and to explain why people read and enjoy suspense stories. It outlines an elaborated version of our structural-affect theory and shows how this theory deals with narra­ tive suspense. The empirical literature on narrative suspense is reviewed, and I examine the degree to which this literature supports the elaborated structural-affect approach to suspense. The next sections of the chapter examine how various theo­ ries of story enjoyment deal with the problem of rereading narrative texts. Finally, I report the results of an experiment that examines the ability of the structural-affect theory to deal with the rereading of artificially constructed entertainment texts.