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On Stories

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  74 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 7th 2001 by Routledge (first published October 18th 2001)
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Emma Sea
Otis and Jeff need to read this book:

Whenever [book review website management] forgets its own narrative origins it becomes dangerous. Self-oblivion is the disease of a community that takes itself for granted - or like an overgrown narcissistic infant presumes that it is the centre of the world, entitled to assert itself to the detriment of others. When this happens the [book review website management] congeals into a terrifying will-to-power. The result is totalitarianism . . . " (p. 81)
Jul 19, 2014 Brandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While a lot of Kearney's ideas about narrative are nothing new to me, having read fairly extensively in the field of narrative theory, I am inspired by his ideas on the ethics of narrative. He injects a refreshing common sense into the debate about narrative truth versus historical truth, emphasizing our ethical responsibility to attend to both the correspondence to "historical facts" and to the process of narration. I had the opportunity to hear Richard Kearney speak at a lecture at University ...more
Dec 30, 2011 Thomas rated it really liked it
Kearney presents an accessible philosophical defense of narrative and the importance of story for human identity and ethics. As always, I appreciate his emphasis on ethics, his ability to develop and make many of Ricouer's insights accessible, his humor, and his defense of an integrated and balanced author/text/reader relationship in a philosophical context that emphasizes the radical impossibility of understanding and representation without violence. Kearney (convincingly in my view) points out ...more
Nov 14, 2013 Kimmy rated it liked it
I enjoyed a lot of Kearney's perspectives, and he has an easy way of writing that invites me to keep reading, knowing I'm understanding, yet challenging me to think in order to grasp what he's saying at other times. For example, I learned about positivism (one truth), relativism (many truths), and heuristism (a balance between the two: many truths/interpretations, but also effort to corroborate with general reality).

This book is solidly on the topic of narrative and its meaning to us as humans,
ArEzO.... Es
Sep 09, 2008 ArEzO.... Es rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
برای تجسم ریشه های داستان گویی باید برای خودمان داستانی تعریف کنیم. کسی،جایی،زمانی به فکرش رسید که بگوید:« روزی روزگاری»، و با این کار، در ذهن شنوندگانش شعله های تخیل را روشن کرد. قصه از تکه پاره های تجربه به هم بافته شد و اتفاقات گذشته و حال را به هم پیوست و هر دوی آن ها را به دل قالب رویای امکانات و احتمالات ریخت. وقتی شنونده ها آغاز را می شنیدند، خواستار میانه و بعد پایان آن بودند. داستان به نظر نوعی حس زمان، تاریخ و زندگی آن ها را در خود داشت. داستان هدیه و موهبت رب النوع ها به انسان فانی بو ...more
May 24, 2012 Zrinka rated it really liked it
Kearney writes about the importance of storytelling in our personal lives as a way of healing, but also about it's influence on the social level - specifically on the national myths. I recently got interested into myths and tales, so I really liked it. Nothing spectacular, but worth the time.
Mar 19, 2011 Jordan rated it liked it
A succinct account of narratology that gracefully delves into different genres and the difference between personal and communal narratives.
Kearney is able to distill ethical criticism into a trackable, engaging exploration.
Yolande Steenkamp
Jan 02, 2013 Yolande Steenkamp rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Very good introduction to narrativity for the lay reader.
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“If we possess narrative sympathy - enabling us to see the world from other's point of view - we cannot kill. If we do not, we cannot love.” 6 likes
“Narrative is an open-ended invitation to ethical and poetical responsiveness. Storytelling invites us to become not just agents of our own lives, but narrators and readers as well. It shows us that the untold life is not worth living.
There will always be someone there to say, 'tell me a story', and someone there to respond. Were this not so, we would no longer be fully human.”
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