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This critical study places Giovanni Boccaccio’s fourteenth-century story-collection in the context of the wide array of didactic narrative traditions that his tales are largely based on and frequently parody, including Aesopic fables, framed narrative collections of Islamicate origin, medieval compilations of sermon stories and of saints’ lives, and classical anthologies of historical anecdotes. In Boccaccio’s revisions, the inherited stories suggest very different ethical paradigms (more skeptical, more tolerant of natural impulses) than in earlier contexts. The book examines Boccaccio’s texts not only in relation to both premodern notions of literary exemplarity, but also to recent critical claims about narrative’s ability to promote empathy and emotional intelligence. Boccaccio asserts in the Decameron’s Preface that his tales provide readers with useful advice by showing the consequences of human behavior, but the very plethora of different teachings and variant outcomes that are proposed undermines the assumption that a specific narrative lesson can ever be universally applied.
This chapter argues that Plato wrote the Phaedo so that we would see Socrates as a philosophical hero, a replacement for traditional heroes such as Theseus or Heracles. The dialogue tells a new sort of story of how a hero faces death, providing an alternative to tragedy, as Plato thought that tragedy was actually practiced. I discuss the topic here because the opening of the dialogue plays an important role in setting up the Phaedo as an alternative to tragedy. But my case’s strength comes from cumulative evidence drawn from across the dialogue, and so this chapter provides an overall reading of the dialogue as an alternative to tragedy. After arguing for this, I turn to two other ways in which storytelling arises in the opening of the dialogue: in Socrates’ Aesop fable and in his dream that tells him to compose poetry.
This is the first monograph to provide a comprehensive interpretation of the Decameron's response to classical and medieval didactic traditions. Olivia Holmes unearths the rich variety of Boccaccio's sources, ranging across Aesopic fables, narrative collections of Islamicate origin, sermon-stories and saints' lives, and compilations of historical anecdotes. Examining the Decameron's sceptical and sexually permissive contents in relation to medieval notions of narrative exemplarity, the study also considers how they intersect with current critical assertions of fiction's power to develop empathy and emotional intelligence. Holmes argues that Boccaccio provides readers with the opportunity to exercise both what the ancients called 'Ethics,' and our contemporaries call 'Theory of Mind.' This account of a vast tradition of tale collections and its provocative analysis of their workings will appeal to scholars of Italian literature and medieval studies, as well as to readers interested in evolutionary understandings of storytelling.
Just before his death, Hamlet bids Horatio “to tell my story.” However, immediately after Fortinbras's arrival, when Horatio wants to perform this task and “speak to the yet unknowing world / How these things came about”, Fortinbras interrupts him, claiming “some rights of memory in this kingdom” for himself, and commands his men to “Take up the bodies” and “Go bid the soldiers shoot.” These final moments of Shakespeare’s play initiate the dramaturgical process for future generations to recount the events which led to Hamlet’s death, reconsidering, re-enacting as well as resisting his and the play’s legacy in constantly shifting forms and constellations. This chapter reflects on how this dramaturgical process is established in the play itself bringing together theoretical issues of hermeneutics, text analysis and performance theory with practical, creative work in the theatre. Highlighting the performative link between virtue and virtuosity, dramaturgy connects research and practice and is designed to develop and enhance creative work in the theatre. The aim of dramaturgical analysis is to open up new dimensions for productions of classical texts, by illuminating these texts from innovative perspectives and laying the basis for integrative scenic images that can later be developed for stage interpretations of the text.
This Presidential Lecture explores the ways in which African orality provides the means for a sentimental education in an era of crisis. Quayson notes how the essentially polysemic character of the genres of orality have influenced the ways he understands both literature and the African city, two areas of keen interest. After tracing the texture of Accra’s trotro (passenger vehicle) slogans and the continuity of sentimental education from orality to social media, Quayson concludes by calling for a new interdisciplinary paradigm that would explore the polysemy of African orality alongside the hypertextual algorithms behind today’s social media and the internet.
The closing act of the story concerns the drafting of the final judgment. The final task of judicial bureaucrats is to stitch together the fragmentary instructions received from the judges to create coherent and persuasive texts. Like weaving, the drafting process is all but smooth. Every time the warp meets the weft, loose threads come out which must be ironed out. Likewise, every new paragraph added to the text of a judgment reveals logical leaps, internal inconsistencies, and gaps in the reasoning that must be papered over for the decision to wield its prescriptive and symbolic authority. Despite these difficulties, the final decision – the magical artefact that makes the pride of our lot – is somehow churned out on time. Its seamless fabric, now up for scrutiny by journalists, practitioners, and scholars, carefully conceals the infinite series of choices, confrontations, and hesitations that marked every turn of the proceedings.
This chapter provides a theoretical basis for examining the tension between scientific and lay rationality that continues to undermine attempts to address such vital healthcare issues as vaccine hesitancy or lack of compliance with regulations and test regimes during a pandemic. It outlines the main tenets of the narrative paradigm, acknowledges critical scholarship relating to its applicability in some cases and settings, and demonstrates its usefulness through a variety of examples from different cases of medical controversy relating to recent epidemics such as SARS and HIV. The chapters that follow do not only explain different antagonisms surrounding Covid-19 from the perspective of the narrative paradigm as elaborated by Walter Fisher, but also extend the framework and nuance it in the course of analysis, especially with reference to its application to medical narratives and its potential for offering a point of orientation for medical practitioners and policy makers in the healthcare sector.
This article investigates the recent proliferation of family-themed homosexual stories in China based on life-history interviews and participant observation conducted in Shenzhen. We develop the concept of “neo-Confucian homonormativity” – characterized by a harmonious relationship between gay men and their families of origin and their ability and aspiration to enter a monogamous relationship and become parents – to explain the production, circulation and consumption of these stories in the Chinese gay community. We argue that these stories are socially embedded actions enabled by the emerging neoliberal sexual politics in the Chinese gay community that influence the organization of the Chinese gay community and Chinese gay men's lived experiences. By analysing the emerging storytelling practices in the Chinese gay community, this article challenges the Western-centric way of theorizing homonormativity and opens up the possibility to conceptualize homonormativity from an Asian perspective.
Marie Roué, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris,Douglas Nakashima, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), France,Igor Krupnik, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
Storytelling among indigenous peoples is central to the intergenerational transmission of indigenous and local knowledge (ILK), allowing for human adaptation to new social-ecological contexts. However, little attention has been paid to the potential applications of storytelling in guiding climate change adaptation efforts. In this chapter, we present a number of case studies from all over the world in which indigenous stories and traditional oral narratives have been applied to inform culturally sensitive climate change adaptation strategies. We contend that greater consideration of indigenous ontologies, as transmitted through storytelling, can contribute towards making climate change communication and adaptation more acceptable to local communities, facilitating intercultural discussions and bridging worldviews. Our chapter shows that attention to and promotion of indigenous storytelling can lead to enhanced understanding of diverse values and perceptions around climate change, hence allowing climate change adaptation strategies to become tailored to the local contexts where they are implemented.
The distinct style of human communication develops gradually during a child’s life course. Researchers have reported that caregivers often try to involve young children in culturally and historically developed interaction patterns. Together with colleagues, I conducted a longitudinal study of Japanese caregiver (mainly parents and siblings) – child (0 to 5 years old) interactions naturally occurring at home, focusing on the developmental transition whereby children’s responses become behavioural patterns that meet caregivers’ expectations. The topics of study included managing attention in child pointing and the caregiver’s response, generating morality while caregivers issue directives (i.e. making their children do something), and caregivers’ strategies for eliciting storytelling from toddlers. Based on these findings, I argue that family interactions provide the foundation for children’s language socialization. Moreover, I explore possible ways that caregivers and nursery or preschool teachers can establish a link between family life and educational settings for children in their care. The recommended practices are summarized as (1) caregivers should communicate to teachers about their child’s recent behavioural accomplishments (e.g. pointing); (2) caregivers and teachers should share a list of directives they have used and the child’s responses to them, and so on.
This chapter starts with an overview of the research on young children’s storytelling both in the home and in preschool settings. It will then turn the reader’s attention to research concerned with the interactions of children aged from 1 year 11 months to 3 years in the home, collected in Australia. It aims to illustrate how storytelling in story book reading and in recounts is achieved and changes over time. The chapter ends with a discussion about practical implications for teachers.
The contemporary ecological crisis is also a crisis of human perception, representation, and agency. We are required to make frenetic alterations of scale, adjusting our daily experiences, actions and lifestyles to ever-changing global and atmospheric patterns and impacts. Yet the polysemy of climate and its diffuse presence in our lives – as extreme weather event, day-to-day expectation, scientific data, or urgent socio-political issue – also makes it amenable to multi-media or transmedia dissemination. Analogously, digital media is itself characterised by movement across and between microscopic (tweets, data) and macroscopic levels – i.e. a digital sphere marked simultaneously by ‘infowhelm’ and the possibility of mass global, networked, and resistant communities. This exploratory survey ranges from the quotidian dimensions of digital and online media – how changes in climate are being recorded and registered in tweets, blogs, and citizen science – to deeper qualitative storytelling formats adapted from and sometimes in dialogue with old media. The latter include online self-published fiction, podcasting (e.g. the BBC audio drama Forest 404), and personal ‘climate stories’ and testimonies. Ultimately, this essay argues for the continued importance, and potential agency, of human-scale perspectives on micro- and macroscopic ecological complexities and for preserving distinct, often maligned human modes of narrative and storytelling.
This History of Education Society Presidential Address primarily utilizes evocative autoethnography and narrative inquiry to convey its main points. It is written in the storytelling tradition of the African American past and analyzes the lives of three generations of Black Mississippians as they navigated life in Jim Crow Mississippi. It highlights the impact and legacy the cotton economy had on the life opportunities of these Black Mississippians, and how the cumulative stories they shared within the family directly shaped the educational pursuits and outcomes of a present-day descendant.
The Epilogue shows how the defamatory stories that began to emerge in the 1930s crystallized after Raúl’s death into an individualized “black legend” about “el negro Raúl.” I demonstrate the patterned and repetitive nature of these stories, which plagiarized each other and echoed master narratives of race rather than reflecting Raúl’s lived experience. The Epilogue brings the story of Raúl’s Black legend up to the present, where the largely unchanged contours of his tale suggest the tensions and incomplete transformations of Argentina’s newfound multiculturalism, and the ongoing seductiveness of “black legend” stories even within the emergent Black movement. Finally, I discuss the challenges (archival and conceptual) of researching Raúl’s story in a country that denies its African heritage, and I reflect on how the interest it sparked among my fellow Argentines suggests that Black Legend may, after all, help shift the narratives on Blackness in Argentina and beyond.
In this chapter, the creative processes that are explored include those of writers and readers. Narrative stories derive from conversation, which is thought to have begun with the evolution of language between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago. Conversation is a mode in which people develop and sustain relationships by sharing memories, perceptions, emotions, anecdotes, thoughts, and understandings – pieces of consciousness – with others. It’s fundamentally creative; each conversation today, engaged in by each of the world’s 7.5 billion inhabitants, with relatives, friends, and other people, is unique, as have been all other conversations. Written stories, which started some 5,000 to 4,000 years ago, have taken this further, with pieces of consciousness being sent by writers to others whom they do not usually know.
Dementia questions many ideas about identity due to the fact that dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease, affects episodic and autobiographical memory. The individual will “lose” self-knowledge and thus the sense of personal continuity and sameness over time. This led to the notion that persons with dementia could be seen as empty vessels – void of any self or identity. Starting in the 1990s a number of researchers began to argue that persons with dementia still had an identity and sense of self. New ideas of what identity and sense of self might mean both theoretically and empirically in the field of dementia were introduced. In this chapter the focus is on three of the attempts to formulate new theoretical views of dementia and identity: (1) social psychological theories based interactional aspects of identity in dementia (Kitwood, Sabat, Harré); (2) theories about stories and storytelling in dementia as an important way to present and negotiate identity (Marie Mills, Cheston, Hydén and others; and (3) phenomenological theories about embodied self and identity (Kontos and others). The common denominator of these three views on identity and dementia is the notion that persons with dementia are still meaning-constructing persons, even very late in the dementia process. Although persons with dementia will over time become increasingly challenged as conversationalists and storytellers, they are still active meaning-makers. They are obviously still engaged in the never-ending activity of making sense of their social as well as physical world-events and happenings in the world as well as what people are saying and doing.
Underrepresentation of Black biomedical researchers demonstrates continued racial inequity and lack of diversity in the field. The Black Voices in Research curriculum was designed to provide effective instructional materials that showcase inclusive excellence, facilitate the dialog about diversity and inclusion in biomedical research, enhance critical thinking and reflection, integrate diverse visions and worldviews, and ignite action. Instructional materials consist of short videos and discussion prompts featuring Black biomedical research faculty and professionals. Pilot evaluation of instructional content showed that individual stories promoted information relevance, increased knowledge, and created behavioral intention to promote diversity and inclusive excellence in biomedical research.
Storytelling could be considered as one of the ecological way to study the pragmatic function of speech in schizophrenia. It demands the ability to create narrative (text) that would be appropriate to particular context. Neuropsychological basis of text-context relation impairment in schizophrenia needs clarification.
To study neuropsychological correlates of pragmatic text-context impairment revealed during storytelling in patients with schizophrenia.
Participants were 14 inpatients with schizophrenia and 18 students without mental disorders. Neuropsychological functioning was measured in both groups according to Luria’s method. Pragmatics assessed by storytelling on images which simultaneously depicts some narrative that should be correctly decoded and after expressed to investigator. The images were taken from Luria’s neuropsychological album and Bidstrup’s drawings.
Stories of patients with schizophrenia were different from control stories in two ways. Some patients produced stories which predominantly characterized by incompleteness that don’t give an opportunity to understand their narratives as connected whole because of its lacunarity. In other cases, stories predominantly characterized by distortion of the storyline which became not realistic and don’t match with the original picture. Incompleteness errors primarily correlates with neuropsychological dysfunction of left frontal lobe (p<0,001). Distortion errors also mainly correlates with dysfunction of frontal lobes (p<0,01), but qualitative analysis reveals right hemisphere involvement.
Impairment of the pragmatic function of speech during storytelling in schizophrenia could manifest itself in at least two different ways. Preliminary results show that it could be connected with different neuropsychological mechanisms and worth considered with left-right frontal lobes opposition.
Conflict of interest
The reported study was funded by RFBR, project number 20-013-00772
Storytelling is increasingly recognized as a culturally relevant, human-centered strategy and has been linked to improvements in health knowledge, behavior, and outcomes. The Community Engagement Program of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research designed and implemented a storytelling training program as a potentially versatile approach to promote stakeholder engagement. Data collected from multiple sources, including participant ratings, responses to open-ended questions, and field notes, consistently pointed to high-level satisfaction and acceptability of the program. As a next step, the storytelling training process and its impact need to be further investigated.
Cultural transmission biases such as prestige are thought to have been a primary driver in shaping the dynamics of human cultural evolution. However, few empirical studies have measured the importance of prestige relative to other effects, such as content biases present within the information being transmitted. Here, we report the findings of an experimental transmission study designed to compare the simultaneous effects of a model using a high- or low-prestige regional accent with the presence of narrative content containing social, survival, emotional, moral, rational, or counterintuitive information in the form of a creation story. Results from multimodel inference reveal that prestige is a significant factor in determining the salience and recall of information, but that several content biases, specifically social, survival, negative emotional, and biological counterintuitive information, are significantly more influential. Further, we find evidence that reliance on prestige cues may serve as a conditional learning strategy when no content cues are available. Our results demonstrate that content biases serve a vital and underappreciated role in cultural transmission and cultural evolution.
Social media summary: Storyteller and tale are both key to memorability, but some content is more important than the storyteller's prestige.