Summer 1998 • Vol. XX No. 3/4 NonfictionJuly 1, 1998 |

Authenticity, Authority, and Application: Buzzati, Kundera, Gordimer

Simple story combines authenticity of action with authority of telling. We need not suspend disbelief or supply relevance. Like Barrie's Peter Pan, the story asks its audience to clap its hands if it believes. And we do believe, for only our need to hear is at stake. Perhaps the need is genetic. "Sindbad," "Bluebeard," "Little Red Riding Hood" satisfy an appetite for narrative. That is their truth. Of course such stories offer themselves to analysis: to casebooks of cultural or psychological or philosophical meanings. Story is always a projection upon the screen of our private experiences; entering our lives, it extends us. To point to story as something our natures require, we use such words as entertainment, myth, fable, or simply plot, none of which need carry with them a theme or purpose. Story is gross anatomy. Yet just as essential as story is our need for story to be something more: something that conveys our complexity and dignity as human agents. My concern is with this

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