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Volume 28 Issue 3 (July 1997), Pages 183-287

The Crisis of Narrative in Contemporary Culture (pages 183-195)

This article explores the crisis of narrative in contemporary culture. It begins by examining the challenge represented by the mass media for the continuing art of storytelling. Taking up Walter Benjamin’s warning that we are moving from an age of narrative experience to an age of instant information, it analyses the implications of the post‐modern ‘cult of simulation’ for education, historiography and ethics. The paper concludes by advocating a critical hermeneutic approach as the most apt response to this contemporary dilemma. Only by means of such hermeneutic retrieval, inspired by the work of Ricoeur and Gadamer, can we avoid the current reduction of temporal experience to a ‘depthless present’ without past or future, thereby reaffirming the crucial narrative dimensions of historical memory and hope.

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