The challenge of life and literary narrative is the central and perennial mystery of how people encounter, manage, and inhabit a self and a world of their own - and others' - creations. With a nod to the eminent scholar and psychologist Jerome Bruner, Life and Narrative: The Risks and Responsibilities of Storying Experience explores the circulation of meaning between experience and the recounting of that experience to others.
A variety of arguments center around the kind of relationship life and narrative share with one another. In this volume, rather than choosing to argue that this relationship is either continuous or discontinuous, editors Brian Schiff, A. Elizabeth McKim, and Sylvie Patron and their contributing authors reject the simple binary and masterfully incorporate a more nuanced approach that has more descriptive appeal and theoretical traction for readers.
Exploring such diverse and fascinating topics as 'Narrative and the Law,' 'Narrative Fiction, the Short Story, and Life,' 'The Body as Biography,' and 'The Politics of Memory,' Life and Narrative features important research and perspectives from both up-and-coming researchers and prominent scholars in the field - many of which who are widely acknowledged for moving the needle forward on the study of narrative in their respective disciplines and beyond.
Brian Schiff is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology and Director of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention at the American University of Paris. A graduate of The University of Chicago's Committee on Human Development, Schiff's research uses narrative in order to examine the meeting place between person, social relationships and culture. He is editor of Rereading Personal Narrative and Life Course, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development and author of A New Narrative for Psychology.
A. Elizabeth McKim is Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and a founding member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative. She is co-editor of the journal Narrative Works: Issues, Investigations, & Interventions, and the co-author (with William L. Randall) of Reading Our Lives: The Poetics of Growing Old.
Sylvie Patron is a Lecturer and Research Supervisor in French Language and Literature at the Université Paris Diderot. A specialist in the history and epistemology of literary theory, she has published Le Narrateur: Introduction à la théorie narrative, La Mort du narrateur et autres essais, and the collective volume Théorie, analyse, interprétation des récits. She is the author of numerous articles, published in both French and English, on the narrator and other problems in narrative theory.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Life Meets Narrative
Introduction: Life and Narrative; A Brief Primer
Brian Schiff, Sylvie Patron, and A. Elizabeth McKim
Part I. Routes
1. Narrative and Law: How They Need Each Other
2. Narrative at the Limits (Or: What is "Life" Really Like?)
3. Narrative/Life of the Moment: From Telling a Story to Taking a Narrative Stance
4. Narrative Fiction, the Short Story, and Life: The Case of Tobias Wolff's "Bullet in the Brain"
II. The Ethics of Narrating Life
5. On the Use and Abuse of Narrative for Life: Towards an Ethics of Storytelling
6. Identity Hoaxes and the Complicity of Social Authorship
7. Turning Life into Stories-Turning Stories into Lives
8. The Body as Biography
9. Narrative Refashioning and Illness: Doctor-Patient Encounters in Siri Hustvedt's The Shaking Woman
10. Phototextuality in Sophie Calle's Des Histoires Vraies
Catherine Karen Roy
IV. Master Narratives and Personal Narratives
11. The Intersection of Personal and Master Narratives: Is Redemption for Everyone?
Andrea V. Breen and Kate C. McLean
12. Shared Narratives and the Politics of Memory: Toward Reconciliation
13. Engaging Crystallization to Understand Life and Narrative: The Case of Active Aging
Cassandra Phoenix and Noreen Orr
V. Narrating Life in Oral History and Literature
14. The Difference of Fiction
15. Lumping, Splitting, and Narratives as Rhetorical Actions: Notes on Christina J. Pan's "Reminiscences" and Deborah Eisenberg's "Twilight of the Superheroes"
16. Who tells whose story? Beyond Everyday and Literary Stories, Fact, and Fiction
17. Narrative and Truth: Some Preliminary Notes
18. Witnessing the Impact: 9/11 in Everyday and Literary Stories
Afterword: Narrative and Life: From So What? to What Next?
William L. Randall