By what right have literary critics appointed themselves as critics of culture at large? Or, to limit the question slightly, what special expertise does narratology bring to the analysis of culture? It is perhaps easy enough to understand why narratology should export its insights to nonliterary narrative forms such as narrative history, but can it presume to go further, to attempt a narratological explanation of culture at large? I think there are two arguments which lend some weight to the idea of a cultural narratology. The first is the idea that narrative is ubiquitous in the contemporary world, in fact so commonplace that it would be difficult to think about ideological issues and cultural forms without encountering it. The second is that culture not only contains narratives but is contained by narrative in the sense that the idea of culture, either in general or in particular, is a narrative.
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