Travelling with narrative
Definition of narrative is endlessly contested: Can a single term embrace not only literary but also social and somatic meanings? Matti Hyvärinen demonstrates the difficulty of doing so when he surveys the tangled history of narrative as a concept in recent decades, identifying two opposing views, one mono-disciplinary in the case of “literary narratology” and the other multi-disciplinary in the case of “narrative-turn theory.” Testing this model against my own concern with autobiography, I recognize that I have traversed both of these narrative fields, one after the other. Both approaches to narrative are required to capture the complexity of our experience of selfhood and our attempts to express it. Rather than choosing between the narratology and narrative-turn camps that Hyvärinen describes, I opt instead for a unified field theory.