On Stories: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

On Stories

1st Edition

By Richard Kearney


208 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415247986
pub: 2001-10-18
Hardback: 9780415247979
pub: 2001-10-18
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203453483
pub: 2002-09-09
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Stories offer us some of the richest and most enduring insights into the human condition and have preoccupied philosophy since Aristotle. On Stories presents in clear and compelling style just why narrative has this power over us and argues that the unnarrated life is not worth living. Drawing on the work of James Joyce, Sigmund Freud's patient 'Dora' and the case of Oscar Schindler, Richard Kearney skilfully illuminates how stories not only entertain us but can determine our lives and personal identities. He also considers nations as stories, including the story of Romulus and Remus in the founding of Rome. Throughout, On Stories stresses that, far from heralding the demise of narrative, the digital era merely opens up new stories.


'Like the best philosophy, and the best intellectual history, this is serious stuff dealt with a light hand.' - Roy Foster, The Guardian

'[Richard Kearney's] argument that appreciating story is an essential part of being human is strong and true.' - The Guardian

'Like the best philosophy, and the best intellectual history, this is serious stuff dealt with a light hand.' - Roy Foster, The Guardian

'Kearney's chief virtue has always been pedagogical, as a gifted storyteller of ideas, and this work is no exception. The first and final parts are exemplary in this respect, providing a concise and morally robust defence of the importance of structured narratives for the way we make sense of our past, present and future ' - Michael Cronin, The Irish Times

'A paean to storytelling…The voice is clear, humane and level-headed. Kearney serves as an guide through this brief history of the ways stories have worked, for better or for worse, in our lives.' - Molly McLoskey, The Sunday Tribune

About the Series

Thinking in Action

'Three of the first batch deserve high praise: On Immigration and Refugees, by the great logician (and campaigner for racial equality) Michael Dummett; On Belief, by that master of postmodern paradox, Slavoj Zizek; and On the Internet by Hubert L Dreyfus.' - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

This is clearly an important series. I look forward to reading future volumes.' - Frank Kermode, author of Shakespeare's Language

Both rigorous and accessible.' - Humanist News

The series looks superb.' - Quentin Skinner

'An excellent and beautiful series.' - Ben Rogers, author of A.J.Ayer: A Life

"Routledge's Thinking in Action series is the theory junkie's answer to the eminently pocketable Penguin 60s series.' - Mute Magazine

'Routledge's new series, Thinking in Action, brings philosophers to our aid.' - The Evening Standard

'A welcome new series by Routledge.' - Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society

Thinking in Action
is a major series that takes philosophy to its public. Each book in the series is written by a major international philosopher or thinker, engages with an important contemporary topic, and is clearly and accessibly written. The series informs and sharpens debate on topics as wide ranging as the internet, religion, the problem of immigration and refugees and the way we think about science. Punchy, short, and stimulating, Thinking in Action is an indispensable series of books for anyone who wants to think seriously about major issues confronting us today.

Edited by Simon Critchley, New School University, USA and Richard Kearney, Boston College, USA

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