the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

news versus story-telling

Posted by rigorousm on April 6, 2010

Every morning brings us news of the globe, and yet we are poor in noteworthy stories. This is because no event any longer comes to us without already being shot through with explanation. In other words, by now almost nothing that happens benefits story-telling, almost everything benefits information. Actually, it is half the art of story-telling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it. …The most extraordinary things, marvelous things, are related with the greatest accuracy, but the psychological connection of the events is not forced on the reader. It is left up to him to interpret things the way he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks.

– Walter Benjamin and Harry Zohn, 1963. “The Story-Teller: Reflections on the Works of Nicolai Leskov.” Chicago Review 16(1):85.


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