Narrative and Consciousness: Literature, Psychology and the Brain

Paperback | December 11, 2003

EditorGary D. Fireman, Ted E. McVay, Owen J. Flanagan

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We define our conscious experience by constructing narratives about ourselves and the people with whom we interact. Narrative pervades our lives--conscious experience is not merely linked to the number and variety of personal stories we construct with each other within a cultural frame, but issubsumed by them. The claim, however, that narrative constructions are essential to conscious experience is not useful or informative unless we can also begin to provide a distinct, organized, and empirically consistent explanation for narrative in relation to consciousness. Understanding the roleof narrative in determining individual and collective consciousness has been elusive from within traditional academic frameworks. This volume argues that addressing so broad and complex a problem requires an examination from outside our insular disciplinary framework. Such an open examination wouldbe informed by the inquiries and approaches of multiple disciplines. Recognition of the different approaches to examining personal stories will allow for the coordination of how narrative seems (its phenomenology), with what mental labor it does (its psychology), and how it is realized (itsneurobiology). Only by overcoming the boundaries erected by multiple theoretical and discursive traditions can we begin to comprehend the nature and function of narrative in consciousness. Narrative and Consciousness brings together essays by exceptional scholars and scientists in the disciplines ofliterary theory, psychology, and neuroscience to examine how stories are constructed, how stories structure lived experience, and how stories are rooted in material reality (the human body). The specific topics addressed include narrative in the development of conscious awareness; autobiographicalnarrative, fiction and the construction of self; trauma and narrative disruptions; narrative, memory and identity; and the physiological and neural substrate of narrative. It is the editors' hope that the multidisciplinary nature of this collection will challenge the reader to move beyonddisciplinary confines and toward a coherent interdisciplinary dialogue.

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We define our conscious experience by constructing narratives about ourselves and the people with whom we interact. Narrative pervades our lives--conscious experience is not merely linked to the number and variety of personal stories we construct with each other within a cultural frame, but issubsumed by them. The claim, however, that ...

Gary D. Fireman and Ted E. McVay are both at Texas Tech University. Owen J. Flanagan is at Duke University.

other books by Gary D. Fireman

Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 0.79 inPublished:December 11, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195161726

ISBN - 13:9780195161724

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Table of Contents

Contributors1. Gary D. Fireman, Ted E. McVay, Jr., and Owen Flanagan: IntroductionPART I: THE ROLE OF NARRATIVE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CONSCIOUS AWARENESS2. Katherine Nelson: Narrative and the Emergence of a Consciousness of Self3. Valerie Gray Hardcastle: The Development of the SelfPART II: NARRATIVE AND AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY4. David C. Rubin and Daniel L. Greenberg: The Role of Narrative in Recollection: A View from Cognitive Psychology and Neuropsychology5. Sidonie A. Smith: Material Selves: Bodies, Memory, and Autobiographical NarratingPART III: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NARRATIVE, FICTION, AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF SELF6. Mark Freeman: Rethinking the Fictive, Reclaiming the Real: Autobiography, Narrative Time, and the Burden of Truth7. James Phelan: Dual Focalization, Retrospective Fictional Autobiography, and the Ethics of LolitaPART IV: NARRATIVE DISRUPTIONS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF SELF8. Lawrence L. Langer: The Pursuit of Death in Holocaust Narrative9. Robert A. Neimeyer: Community and Coherence: Narrative Contributions to the Psychology of Conflict and LossPART V: THE NEURAL SUBSTRATE OF NARRATIVE AND CONSCIOUSNESS REALIZATION (OR THE NATURALIST MODEL)10. John Bickle: Empirical Evidence for a Narrative Concept of Self11. Gillian Einstein and Owen Flanagan: Sexual Identities and Narratives of SelfIndex