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Letting Stories Breathe: A Socio-Narratology Hardcover – November 15, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (November 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226260135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226260136
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,701,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Frank is a beautiful writer and this is a terrific book. His socio-narratology, while clearly drawing on the work of earlier scholars, is genuinely original, and his mastery of narrative theory, facility with a range of theoretical traditions of narrative analysis, deep fondness for literature, and capacity as a storyteller—all these together allow him to make a very persuasive case.”
(Cheryl Mattingly, University of Southern California)

“This is a powerful book. Arthur Frank already has a reputation as a sophisticated and sensitive interpreter of how stories shape human experience, and Letting Stories Breathe will cement his legacy. Moving beyond his important earlier work on illness stories, Frank outlines both a general theory (socio-narratology) and a method (dialogic narrative analysis) for understanding and studying ‘how stories act’ in the lives of individuals and groups. His writing is consistently clear and concise as well as, at times, moving and deeply personal, conveying in its style and language the very ethical commitments that are central to the argument of the book. Frank is himself a good storyteller and he weaves argument and illustration together in just the right balance.”

(Joseph E. Davis, University of Virginia)

“Every chapter offers shrewd observations: on storytelling practice, on how to analyze narrative, on the ways in which narratives deal with the ‘biographical disruption’ that serious disease brings to the stories people tell themselves about their lives, and on the questions and ethical judgments embedded in stories.”

About the Author

Arthur W. Frank is professor of sociology at the University of Calgary and the author of At the Will of the Body: Reflections on Illness; The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics; and The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine, and How to Live, the latter two also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By barbara a. whittingham on September 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Arthur W. Frank shows how we "think with stories," how we are "born into stories" and, if we cooperate by allowing them to "do things with (us) people, we can become part of their perpetuation. Stories act upon us and use us for their own purposes, which may be for good or for ill. That is perhaps how we, as agents, act back to influence the story's narrative to change and develop it, to serve the life we choose.

This is a fascinating book, well-written, if not poetic in the telling. This book develops further Frank's work on illness stories. "Socio-narratology" is the general theory, if an awkward phrase. Frank demonstrates how the world is social in it's essence and how people are born into, live into, develop, and die in story. This is a thought-provoking read for the general reader as well as scholar.

Barbara Whittingham
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary-Denese Holmes on January 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some of Frank's claims about the role and power of stories a little inflated. However well worth reading to inform work in working with narratives in people's lives
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