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.

Chapter 7 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at https://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons [Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license.

chapter 1|20 pages


Intersections of Storytelling and Ethics
ByHanna Meretoja, Colin Davis

part I|101 pages

The Ethical Potential and Limits of Narrative

chapter 2|14 pages

Truth, Ethics, Fiction

Responding to Plato’s Challenge
ByColin Davis

chapter 3|18 pages

Is There an Ethics to Story-Telling? 1

ByMieke Bal

chapter 4|13 pages

Forms of Ordering

Trauma, Narrative and Ethics
ByRobert Eaglestone

chapter 5|16 pages

The Decline of Narrative and the Rise of the Archive

ByErnst van Alphen

chapter 6|17 pages

The Story of the “Anthropos”

Writing Humans and Other Primates
ByDanielle Sands

chapter 7|21 pages

From Appropriation to Dialogic Exploration

A Non-subsumptive Model of Storytelling
ByHanna Meretoja
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part II|77 pages

Narrative Temporalities

chapter 8|17 pages

Alexander Kluge’s “Saturday in Utopia”

Making Time for Other Lives with German Critical Theory and Heliotropic Narration 1
ByLeslie A. Adelson

chapter 11|16 pages

Popular Representation of East Germany

Whose History Is It? 1
ByMolly Andrews

chapter 12|10 pages

Realities in the Making

The Ethics of Fabulation in Observational Documentary Cinema
ByIlona Hongisto

part III|83 pages

Narrative Engagements with Violence and Trauma

chapter 13|16 pages

The Empathetic Listener and the Ethics of Storytelling

ByAleida Assmann

chapter 14|18 pages

Transformative Tales

Theater Storytelling, Ethics and Restitution
ByAnna Reading

chapter 15|16 pages

Towards an Intercultural Aesthetics

Shaping the Memory of Political Violence and Historical Trauma in Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s Artwork Where is Where?
ByMia Hannula

chapter 16|14 pages

Reading Terror

Imagining Violent Acts through the Rational or Narrative Sublime
ByCassandra Falke

chapter 17|17 pages

War and Storytelling After 9/11

A Photojournalist’s Perspective
ByLouie Palu

part IV|13 pages

Concluding Reflections

chapter 18|11 pages

Narrative in Dark Times

ByAndreea Deciu Ritivoi