Storytelling and Ethics: Literature, Visual Arts and the Power of Narrative (Hardback) book cover

Storytelling and Ethics

Literature, Visual Arts and the Power of Narrative

Edited by Hanna Meretoja, Colin Davis

© 2017 – Routledge

314 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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Description

In recent years there has been a huge amount of both popular and academic interest in storytelling as something that is an essential part of not only literature and art but also our everyday lives as well as our dreams, fantasies, aspirations, historical self-understanding, and political actions. The question of the ethics of storytelling always, inevitably, lurks behind these discussions, though most frequently it remains implicit rather than explicit. This volume explores the ethical potential and risks of storytelling from an interdisciplinary perspective. It stages a dialogue between contemporary literature and visual arts across media (film, photography, performative arts), interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives (debates in narrative studies, trauma studies, cultural memory studies, ethical criticism), and history (traumatic histories of violence, cultural history). The collection analyses ethical issues involved in different strategies employed in literature and art to narrate experiences that resist telling and imagining, such as traumatic historical events, including war and political conflicts. The chapters explore the multiple ways in which the ethics of storytelling relates to the contemporary arts as they work with, draw on, and contribute to historical imagination. The book foregrounds the connection between remembering and imagining and explores the ambiguous role of narrative in the configuration of selves, communities, and the relation to the non-human. While discussing the ethical aspects of storytelling, it also reflects on the relevance of artistic storytelling practices for our understanding of ethics. Making an original contribution to interdisciplinary narrative studies and narrative ethics, this book both articulates a complex understanding of how artistic storytelling practices enable critical distance from culturally dominant narrative practices, and analyzes the limitations and potential pitfalls of storytelling.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: Intersections of Storytelling and Ethics

Hanna Meretoja and Colin Davis

Part I: The ethical potential and limits of narrative

Chapter 2: Truth, Ethics, Fiction: Responding to Plato’s Challenge

Colin Davis

Chapter 3: Is there an Ethics to Story-Telling?

Mieke Bal

Chapter 4: Forms of Ordering: Trauma, Narrative and Ethics

Robert Eaglestone

Chapter 5: The Decline of Narrative and the Rise of the Archive

Ernst van Alphen

Chapter 6: The Story of the "Anthropos": Writing Humans and Other Primates in Contemporary Fiction

Danielle Sands

Chapter 7: From Appropriation to Dialogic Exploration: A Non-Subsumptive Model of Storytelling

Hanna Meretoja

Part II: Narrative temporalities: imagining an other life

Chapter 8: Alexander Kluge’s "Saturday in Utopia": Making Time for Other Lives with German Critical Theory and Heliotropic Narration

Leslie A. Adelson

Chapter 9: Melancholy and the Narration of Transnational Trauma in W.G. Sebald and Teju Cole

Kaisa Kaakinen

Chapter 10: Memory as Imagination in Elina Hirvonen’s When I Forgot

Riitta Jytilä

Chapter 11: Popular Representation of East Germany: Whose History is it?

Molly Andrews

Chapter 12: Realities in the Making: The Ethics of Fabulation in Observational Documentary Cinema

Ilona Hongisto

Part III: Narrative engagements with violence and trauma

Chapter 13: The Empathetic Listener and the Ethics of Storytelling

Aleida Assmann

Chapter 14: Theatre, Ethics and Restitution: What is Theatre Good For?

Anna Reading

Chapter 15: Towards an Intercultural Aesthetics: Shaping the Memory of Political Violence and Historical Trauma in Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s Artwork Where is Where?

Mia Hannula

Chapter 16: Reading Terror: Imagining Violent Acts through the Rational or Narrative Sublime

Cassandra Falke

Chapter 17: War & Storytelling After 9/11: A Photojournalist’s Perspective

Louie Palu

Part IV: Concluding reflections

Chapter 18: Narrative in Dark Times

Andreea Deciu Ritivoi

About the Editors

Colin Davis is Professor of French at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.

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.

About the Series

Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature

This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to literary studies, it engages with topics such as philosophy, science, race, gender, film, music, and ecology. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General
LIT024060
LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 21st Century
LIT025000
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / General
PHI005000
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy