Narratology is the study of the structure, function, and effect of narrative. This concept was initiated by Russian Formalism and developed into a highly specialist sub-discipline by structuralism. In particular, narratology draws on the crucial distinction between fabula and sjužet developed by Russian Formalism which distinguishes between the actual events in a story and the imaginative way these events are described. In this respect, Vladimir Propp’s analyses of the formal structure or morphology of Russian folktales, which compared hundreds of traditional stories and broke them down into 31 basic narrative functions and 7 character types, was foundational. By emphasizing form over content, narratology is able to show similarity between stories that might otherwise appear to contain quite different subject matter. Popular fiction studies provide a good example of this by demonstrating the structural similarity of Mills & Boon romances and Jane Austen’s novels. The major narratological theorists after Propp are Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Algirdas Greimas, and Gerard Genette.
Also read; Tautology: Defintition, meaning and Examples