© 2019

Narrative and Self-Understanding

  • Garry L. Hagberg

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Self, Self-description, Story

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Jukka Mikkonen
      Pages 11-27
    3. Samuel Clark
      Pages 53-73
  3. The Examined Mind

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 75-75
    2. Jeff Wieand
      Pages 97-116
    3. Antonio Cardiello, Paolo Stellino
      Pages 117-137
  4. Negotiations of Selfhood

  5. Character, Transformative Reading, and Self-reflective Consciousness

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 267-274

About this book


This exciting new edited collection bridges the gap between narrative and self-understanding. The problem of self-knowledge is of universal interest; the nature or character of its achievement has been one continuing thread in our philosophical tradition for millennia. Likewise the nature of storytelling, the assembly of individual parts of a potential story into a coherent narrative structure, has been central to the study of literature. But how do we gain knowledge from an artform that is by definition fictional, by definition not a matter of ascertained fact, as this applies to the understanding of our lives? 
When we see ourselves in the mimetic mirror of literature, what we see may not just be a matter of identifying with a single protagonist, but also a matter of recognizing long-form structures, long-arc narrative shapes that give a place to – and thus make sense of – the individual bits of experience that we place into those structures. But of course at precisely this juncture a question arises: do we make that sense, or do we discover it? The twelve chapters brought together here lucidly and steadily reveal how the matters at hand are far more intricate and interesting than any such dichotomy could accommodate. This is a book that investigates the ways in which life and literature speak to each other. 


self self-knowledge narrative consciousness self-understanding storytelling literature

Editors and affiliations

  • Garry L. Hagberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBard CollegeAnnandale On HudsonUSA

About the editors

Garry L. Hagberg is the James H. Ottaway Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at Bard College, USA, and has also held a Chair in the School of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, UK. Author of numerous books and articles at the intersection of the philosophy of the arts and the philosophy of language and Editor of the journal Philosophy and Literature, his most recent book is Living in Words: Literature, Autobiographical Language, and the Composition of Selfhood.

Bibliographic information