Shaped by Stories: The Ethical Power of Narratives

University of Notre Dame Press (2009)

In his latest book, Marshall Gregory begins with the premise that our lives are saturated with stories, ranging from magazines, books, films, television, and blogs to the words spoken by politicians, pastors, and teachers. He then explores the ethical implication of this nearly universal human obsession with narratives. Through careful readings of Katherine Anne Porter's "The Grave," Thurber's "The Catbird Seat," as well as _David Copperfield_ and _Wuthering Heights_, Gregory asks the question: How do the stories we absorb in our daily lives influence the kinds of persons we turn out to be? "__Shaped by Stories___ _weaves its own compelling story about the pervasive ethical effects of reading narrative, with Marshall Gregory serving as a highly engaging and ethically admirable narrator--a very model of good company." --_James Phelan, Distinguished University Professor of English, Ohio State University_ "Marshall Gregory's __Shaped by Stories_ _brings ethical criticism to the level of felt experience. Witty and passionate, full of personal reflections and sharp examples, this book will help anyone who has been drawn to the mysterious power of stories to think more carefully about the connections between narrative art and human ethos. Gregory reminds us that the urgency of our need for stories is tied permanently to the need to exercise judgment, belief, and empathy in the process of becoming who we are." --_Annette Federico, James Madison University _ "From a lifetime of reflecting on the ethics of fiction, Marshall Gregory has given us an elegant analysis of the power of stories to instruct and delight. No one interested in storytelling will want to be without this incisive guide to both the myriad ways that stories shape our lives and the strategies writers use to affect our responses. Both the theoretical and practical halves of __Shaped by Stories __have clarity and eloquence." --_Robert D. Denham, Fishwick Professor of English, Emeritus, Roanoke College_
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