Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life

  • ISBN-13: 9780674010994
  • $32.73

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From our most eminent psychologist, a wise new book on the function and meaning of narrative.Stories--whether chronicles of truth or fancies of fiction--pervade our world and shape our understanding of it. They inform our most basic impressions of reality and impose structure on our lives. Yet so intrinsic is our grasp of narrative--we all tell stories and like to hear them--that we find it hard to question its purpose or explain its effects.In Making Stories, the eminent psychologist and educator Jerome Bruner inquires into this elusive yet fundamental aspect of human nature and asks how we use it to make sense of our lives. He proposes challenging new ways to think about narrative: to understand how we tell our stories, to see how we use them to create a sense of self and interpret other people's lives, to learn how literature alters the very idea of what a story is, and how law teaches us about our expectations of narrative. The result is a masterful, provocative synthesis of anthropology, psychology, literature, law, and philosophy.When he wrote his groundbreaking book On Knowing: Essays for the Left Hand (1962), Bruner believed that "the scientific method could tame ordinary narrative into testable hypotheses." Now, he concedes, "I think I was profoundly mistaken." In Making Stories, Bruner offers a more complex view: that science's austere, well-defined narratives about verifiable facts are inextricably woven into culture's "darkly challenging" tales--the autobiographical, literary, and legal material in which metaphorically rich, morally instructive narratives teach us who we are and who we can become.

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