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The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary LifeTales from the Coffee Shop$
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William L. Randall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199930432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930432.001.0001

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In the Beginning

In the Beginning

The Story Behind the Book

(p.1) Chapter 1 In the Beginning
The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life

William L Randall

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins the book by clarifying that it has been written in a coffee shop, a supremely down-to-earth setting that has storytelling at its core and where the narrative complexity—and psychology—of ordinary life is “in your face.” After explaining the meandering manner in which (because of the rhythms of coffee shop life) the book is written, the chapter outlines the main strands of thought that run through the book. One of these concerns the ubiquity of metaphor in everyday speech and its role in shaping our understanding of one aspect or another of ordinary life. The “narrative root metaphor”—or life-as-story—is singled out as obviously of central interest. The chapter ends with a sketch of the story of the author’s own life, and the different subplots that figure in it, to provide an autobiographical context for the numerous themes with which the book deals.

Keywords:   story, metaphor, life as story, narrative root metaphor, narrative psychology, narrative gerontology

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