In Part I, a basic ontology of literature is presented. With the written work, and, in particular, the printed book, meaning is discerned not through performance but through the act of reading, i.e., how what is read is imaginatively intended by the reader. Whereas the other modes of art draw attention to how they are physically present to the senses, the words of literature are ontologically different—they are volatilized through reading, into imaginatively intended sensuous particularity. This is explored in relation to poetry, using key examples from Rumi, Milton, and Osip Mandelstam. In Part II, the approach is extended to storytelling. This literary form centers on narrative. Literary narrative describes what happens in terms of the meaningfulness of its content for the agents who are involved in it, and through the fact that what is recounted is done so from the authority of one who has perceived the events in question, or who presents the story as if he or she had witnessed it. In effect, narrative is intended to engage our capacity for imagining. In Part III, the theory is explored through detailed consideration of Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.