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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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Hollyhocks and Hummingbirds

Hollyhocks and Hummingbirds

The Biographical Imperative

Chapter:
(p.72) Chapter 5 Hollyhocks and Hummingbirds
Source:
The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life
Author(s):

William L Randall

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930432.003.0005

This chapter recounts and reflects on a series of stories from that chapter in the author’s own life when he served as a rural minister in his late twenties and early thirties. Included are reflections on “the biographical imperative” that we experience in day-to-day life, and the limits of how much we can “know” of another person’s life story. Reference is made to his experience of interviewing his own father about the story of his life and the various issues (interpretive, ethical, etc.) that process implies. Drawing upon a few short signature stories from his days of conducting funerals, the author reflects on the impact throughout the community of the biographizing he did in his homilies concerning the deceased. The chapter ends with discussion of the links between biography and autobiography and the metaphorical dimensions of autobiographical learning.

Keywords:   biography, biographical imperative, autobiography, autobiographical learning, religion, ministry, death

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