Apr 20, 2007

the stories that make us

Stefán Snaevarr examines the narrativist philosophies of Alasdair MacIntyre and Paul Ricoeur:
What could explain this change in the intellectual climate? I think that one of the things which brought about this pro-narrativist change is the downfall of modernism in literature. Modernists such as French writer Alain Robbe-Grillet wanted to do away with ordinary storytelling. Ordinary stories were regarded as superficial and without any power to show the real nature of human life. Human life is simply not like a narrative, the modernists thought. This anti-narrativism had its heyday when Schapp was writing his books, so no wonder he was ignored. Then in the Sixties post-modernism arrived on the scene and telling stories in novels became all the rage again. Great storytellers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez were the darling of the literati. Believing in the redeeming quality of stories is now in vogue. Every day someone publishes a book telling you how you can become rich / famous / happy / popular by telling stories.

My aim in the remains of this article is more modest. I want to introduce to you the thought of two celebrated narrativists.
Though Snaevarr keeps his focus on the positive, we can also imagine the breakdown of identity as the dissolution of a coherent narrative, as is often the case in the work of Dr. Oliver Sacks.

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