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By Robert Fulford

Narrative has been important to human existence for millennia, and the 20 th century has been preeminently the age of the tale. Mass tradition and mass rest have enabled us to spend way more time soaking up tales, actual and imaginary, than any of our ancestors. even if this has been to our profit is among the questions raised by means of journalist and 1999 CBC Massey lecturer Robert Fulford. Narrative, Fulford Read more...

summary: Narrative has been crucial to human lifestyles for millennia, and the 20th century has been preeminently the age of the tale. Mass tradition and mass relaxation have enabled us to spend way more time soaking up tales, actual and imaginary, than any of our ancestors. even if this has been to our gain is without doubt one of the questions raised through journalist and 1999 CBC Massey lecturer Robert Fulford. Narrative, Fulford issues out, is how we clarify, how we train, how we entertain ourselves - frequently abruptly. it's the package deal within which we wrap fact, wish, and dread. it will be significant to civilization.Fulford writes engagingly and energetically approximately narrative background, narrative in information insurance, the increase of digital narrative, and narrative because it prospers within the kind of gossip, "the folk-art model of literature," revealing to us the secret, energy, and significance of tale in all our lives

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Gossip has always fed literary art. The novelist Mary McCarthy argued, in the famous essay “The Fact in Fiction,” that even the most serious novels adopt a tone that resembles gossip. In the first paragraph of War and Peace, a woman discusses Napoleon precisely in the style of a gossip. The speech ends, “Sit down and talk to me,” and we readers know the gossip will go on. McCarthy pointed out that Tolstoy, Flaubert, Proust, and all the other great novelists speak to us much like neighbours relating scandal: “You will hardly believe what happened next,” they all say to us, in effect.

As I began to write reviews, I studied those critics, such as Bernard Shaw and Edmund Wilson, who used narrative as a way to discuss complicated issues of art and society. And after a time, I learned to light a candle to Lytton Strachey, whose 1918 collection of articles, Eminent Victorians, became a kind of textbook on magazine writing. It’s often said that he revolutionized the writing of biography, replacing the wordy, dull, and reverential style of the nineteenth century with his swift, sharply critical, and often funny accounts of Victorian lives.

Perhaps Laski’s type is not so uncommon. We all tend to negotiate with what we perceive to be reality. We agree to accept it and acknowledge some part (but never all) of it. If we accept too much, and speak of it too much, perhaps our discomfort will rise to the point where we cannot live with ourselves, and others will find our candour hard to tolerate. If we accept too little, we can shift towards fantasies that will cripple us — or at least embarrass us. Harold Laski’s fantasies can be seen as a breakdown in this intricate process of negotiation; possibly he is not a rare exception but one individual among many, one whose romancing became known because his life was so amply documented.

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