Skip to main content

Time and Narrative, Volume 1

Time and Narrative builds on Paul Ricoeur’s earlier analysis, in The Rule of Metaphor, of semantic innovation at the level of the sentence. Ricoeur here examines the creation of meaning at the textual level, with narrative rather than metaphor as the ruling concern.

Ricoeur finds a "healthy circle" between time and narrative: time is humanized to the extent that it portrays temporal experience. Ricoeur proposes a theoretical model of this circle using Augustine’s theory of time and Aristotle’s theory of plot and, further, develops an original thesis of the mimetic function of narrative. He concludes with a comprehensive survey and critique of modern discussions of historical knowledge, understanding, and writing from Aron and Mandelbaum in the late 1930s to the work of the Annales school and that of Anglophone philosophers of history of the 1960s and 1970s.

"This work, in my view, puts the whole problem of narrative, not to mention philosophy of history, on a new and higher plane of discussion."—Hayden White, History and Theory

"Superb. . . . A fine point of entrance into the work of one of the eminent thinkers of the present intellectual age."—Joseph R. Gusfield, Contemporary Sociology

281 pages | 5.80 x 8.90 | © 1984

History: History of Ideas

Philosophy: General Philosophy

Table of Contents

Part I: The Circle of Narrative and Temporality
1. The Aporias of the Experience of Time: Book 11 of Augustine’s Confessions
2. Emplotment: A Reading of Aristotle’s Poetics
3. Time and Narrative: Threefold Mimesis
Part II: History and Narrative
4. The Eclipse of Narrative
5. Defenses of Narrative
6. Historical Intentionality


The University of Chicago Press: Gordon J. Laing Award

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press