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A story is a tale, a narrative, a narration of a chain of events told or written in prose or verse. It is usually less detailed than a novel. It can be a report on a matter or event, or made up (fictitious). It helps to keep in mind that "story" or "tale" can mean quite different things to different people.

Good and helpful stories can fill cognitive structures with content that makes sense or seems to do it - they help some kind of meaning-making. In so doing, they can help socialisation too among other things. The American psychologist Jerome Bruner (1915 -) shows facets of what stories and story-telling will do if given a fair chance.


People have forgotten how to tell a story. [Steven Spielberg]

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned . . . that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end. [Gilda Radner]

There are tabloids . . . some stories and parts of stories are true and some are exaggerated and untrue. [With Shane Warne]

Narrative as a mode of thinking, as a structure for organizing our knowledge, and as a vehicle in . . . science education. [Jerome Bruner, 1996:119]

There appear to be two broad ways in which human beings organize and manage their knowledge of the world, indeed structure even their immediate experience: one seems more specialized for treating of physical "things," the other for treating of people and their plights. These are conventionally known as logical scientfic thinking and narrative thinking . . . They have varied modes of expression in different cultures, which also cultivate them differently. [Jerome Bruner 1996:39-40]

Every narrator has a point of view and we have an inalienable right to question it. [[Jerome Bruner 1996:138]

Are narrative construals, then, just about particulars, idiosyncratic accounts fitted to the occasion? Or are there also some universals in the realities they construct? . . . there are indeed universals, and . . . these are essential to life in a culture. [[Jerome Bruner 1996:130]

The process of science making is narrative. It consists of spinning hypotheses about nature, testing them, correcting the hypotheses, and getting one's head straight. En route to producing testable hypotheses, we play with ideas, try to create anomalies, try to find neat puzzle forms that we can apply to intractable troubles so that they can be turned into soluble problems, figure out tricks for getting around morasses. The history of science . . . can be dramatically recounted as a set of almost heroic narratives in problem solving. [Jerome Bruner 1996:126]

The comprehension of narrative is hermeneutic. [Jerome Bruner 1996:137]


Stories Quotations, Literature  

Bruner, Jerome S. The Culture of Educaton. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.

Cohan, Steven, and Linda M. Shires. Telling Stories: A Theoretical Analysis of Narrative Fiction. London: Routledge, 2001.

de la Salle, Antoine. One Hundred Merrie And Delightsome Stories. Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles. Tr. Robert B. Douglas. Paris: Charles Carrington, 1899.

Dulac, Edmond. Edmond Dulac's Fairy-Book: Fairy Tales of the Allied Nations. New York: George H. Doran, 1916.

Ellis, Gail, and Jean Brewster. Tell it Again! The New Storytelling Handbook for Primary Teachers. 3rd ed. Manchester: British Council, 2014.

Feynman, Richard. "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventured of a Curious Character. As told to Ralph Leighton. Ed. Edward Hutchings. New York: Bantam, 1986.

Green, Thomas A., ed. Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, and Art. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1997.

Greene, Allin. Storytelling: Art and Technique. 3rd ed. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 1996.

Haase, Donald, ed. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales. Vols 1-3. Westport, CT. Greenwood Press, 2008.

Hodne, Ørnulf. The Types of the Norwegian Folktale. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1984.

Petrie, William Matthew Flinders, ed. Egyptian Tales, First Series. 2nd ed. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1899.

Petrie, William Matthew Flinders, ed. Egyptian Tales, Second Series. Tr. from the Papyri. 2nd ed. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1913.

Polette, Nancy. Teaching Thinking Skills with Fairy Tales and Fantasy. London: Libraries Unlimited, 2005.

Pourrat, Henri, coll. French Folktales: From the Collection of Henri Pourrat. Selected by C. G. Bjurström. Tr., and introduction by Royall Tyler. New York. Pantheon Books, 1989.

Sherman, Josepha, ed. Storytelling: An Encyclopedia of Mythology and Folklore. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2008.

Yolen, Jane, ed. Favorite Folktales from around the World. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986.

Zipes, Jack, ed. The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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