The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation

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JHU Press, Aug 1, 1990 - Literary Criticism - 264 pages

Hayden White probes the notion of authority in art and literature and examines the problems of meaning—its production, distribution, and consumption—in different historical epochs. In the end, he suggests, the only meaning 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 transform the present into a fulfillment of a past from which we would wish to have descended.


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User Review  - humdog - LibraryThing

i read this book one winter in the santa cruz mountains and it popped my brain open like a grape. this is the book that will explain fascism as a literary form, for example. it is, as Al Swearengen would say, fuckin marvelous. Read full review

The content of the form: narrative discourse and historical representation

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Here, White continues and extends the influential analysis of historical writing he began in Metahistory (1974) . He rejects the idea that history reports the past as it actually happened; narrative ... Read full review


1 The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality
2 The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory
Discipline and DeSublimation
Historical Writing as a Bourgeois Science
The Historiography of AntiHumanism
Jamesons Redemption of Narrative
Time and Symbol in Ricoeurs Philosophy of History
Method and Ideology in Intellectual History

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About the author (1990)

Hayden White is professor of the history of consciousness and Presidential Professor of Historical Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is the author of Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe and Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism, both available from Johns Hopkins University Press.

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