Ricoeur: Narrative Identity

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Of particular importance to the present study is Ricoeur's formulation of an "offshoot issuing from the blending of history and fiction": narrative identity (1988, 3:246). Ricoeur argued that only narrative can account for the assigning of a everlasting proper name to an agent or subject, permanent from a subject's birth to death (1988, 3:246). Ricoeur claimed that one must tell a tale of a life in order to answer the question "Who...?" Therefore, the identity of this "who" must be a narrated identity (1988, 3:246). Ricoeur went far away as to say that, "Without the recourse to narration, the problem of individual identity would in fact be condemned to an antinomy with no solution" (1988, 3:246). Narrative accounts for the self-sameness of…show more content…
In the end, he suggests, the only significance that history can have is the kind that a narrative imagination gives to it. The secret of the process by which consciousness invests history with meaning resides in "the content of the form," In the way our narrative capacities transforms the present into a accomplishment of a past from which we would wish to have desceneded. Three sets of essays form this collection: one set on analyzing history as narrative and the content inherent in the form, one set looking at the ideologies that came to form the regulation of history in the nineteenth century, and one set that critiques/analyzes some heroes of white's: foucault, jameson, ricoeur. Our historiography course liked the last essay (which provides a semiological reading of The Education of Henry Adams) the best. Given - History is a collection of recorded proceedings. Given - The events of history are written down by a human. Given - Every event in history is not recorded, only those of note.What does this mean? It means history is a structured narrative. It means that someone chooses what events we remember. It means the past is flavored by the perspective of its author. History is nearer to art than it is to science. History is a representation of events, never, because the act of writing does not allow it, recorded precisely. History is not a snapshot but a watercolor appealing interpretation. We are inventing the past as we record it in the present. Now go read some
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