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The Use and Abuse of Stories New Directions in Narrative Hermeneutics

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2023-05-16
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Narrative practice has come under attack in the current "post-truth" era. In fact, many associate "narrative hermeneutics"--the field of inquiry concerned with reflection on the meaning and interpretation of stories--directly with this putative movement beyond truth.

Challenging this view, The Use and Abuse of Stories argues that this broad arena of inquiry instead serves as a vitally important vehicle for addressing and redressing the social and political problems at hand. Hanna Meretoja and Mark Freeman have gathered an interdisciplinary group of esteemed authors to explore how interpretation is relevant to current discussions in narrative studies and to the broader debate that revolves around issues of truth, facts, and narrative. The contributions turn to the tradition of narrative hermeneutics to emphasize that narrative is a cultural meaning-making practice that is integral to how we make sense of who we are and who we could be.

Addressing topics ranging from the dangers of political narratives to questions of truth in medical and psychiatric practice, this volume shows how narrative hermeneutics contributes to topical debates both in interdisciplinary narrative studies and in the current cultural and political situation in which issues of truth have gained new urgency.

Author Biography

Hanna Meretoja is Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory at the University of Turku (Finland) and Principal Investigator in the Academy of Finland research consortium "Instrumental Narratives: The Limits of Storytelling and New Story-Critical Narrative Theory" (2018-2023). Her monographs include The Ethics of Storytelling: Narrative Hermeneutics, History, and the Possible (Oxford, 2018) and The Narrative Turn in Fiction and Theory (2014), and she has co-edited The Routledge Companion to Literature and Trauma (2020, with Colin Davis) and Storytelling and Ethics: Literature, Visual Arts and the Power of Narrative (2018), Memory Studies special issue "Cultural Memorial Forms" (2021, with Eneken Laanes), and Poetics Today special issue "Critical Approaches to the Storytelling Boom" (2022, with Maria Mäkelä).

Mark Freeman is Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society in the Department of Psychology at the College of the Holy Cross. He is the author of numerous works, including Rewriting the Self: History, Memory, Narrative (1993); Hindsight: The Promise and Peril of Looking Backward (Oxford, 2010); The Priority of the Other: Thinking and Living Beyond the Self (Oxford, 2014); and, most recently, Do I Look at You with Love? Reimagining the Story of Dementia (2021). Winner of the Theodore R. Sarbin Award from the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology and the Joseph B. Gittler Award from the American Psychological Foundation, Freeman is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and serves as Editor for the Oxford University Press series "Explorations in Narrative Psychology."

Table of Contents

Introduction: Challenges and Prospects of Narrative Hermeneutics in Tumultuous Times
Hanna Meretoja and Mark Freeman

Part I: Politics of Storytelling

Chapter 1: The Inevitability, and Danger, of Narrative
Mark Freeman

Chapter 2: Testimony: Truth, Lies, and the Hermeneutics of Suspicion
Colin Davis

Chapter 3: Hermeneutic Awareness in Uncertain Times: Post-truth, Narrative Agency, and Existential Diminishment
Hanna Meretoja

Part II: Understanding the Self

Chapter 4: Verstehen and narrative
Jens Brockmeier

Chapter 5: "Be Loyal to the Story": Sorrow, Narrative, and Truth-telling
Molly Andrews

Chapter 6: Narrative as an Interpretation of Self-Pattern
Shaun Gallagher

Chapter 7: Speaking of Elves, Dragons, and Werewolves: Narrative Hermeneutics and Other-than-Human Identities
Clive Baldwin, Lauren Ripley, and Shania Arsenault

Part III: Understanding the Other

Chapter 8: Identity, Understanding, and Narrative
Georgia Warnke

Chapter 9: Found in Translation: Solicitude and Linguistic Hospitality in Storytelling
Andreea Deciu Ritivoi

Chapter 10: The Hermeneutics of Darkness: Interpreting Perpetrators on their Crimes
Brian Schiff, Kaylee Altimore, and Genevieve Bougher

Chapter 11: Perpetrator Histories, Silencing and Untold Stories: A View from Contemporary Psychoanalysis
Roger Frie

Part IV: Narrative Practices

Chapter 12: Literary and Film Narratives
Jakob Lothe

Chapter 13: Queer Perspectives on Narrative Practices in Asylum Politics
Ada Schwanck

Chapter 14: Narrative Medicine: The Book at the Gates of Biomedicine
Danielle Spencer

Chapter 15: Psychiatric Truth and Narrative Hermeneutics
Bradley Lewis


Supplemental Materials

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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