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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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Cigar in the Night

Cigar in the Night

Storying the Past

(p.132) Chapter 8 Cigar in the Night
The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life

William L Randall

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks into the narrative complexity of “the news,” and the centrality of “story” language—top story, breaking story, story behind the story, etc.—in reporting it, especially on TV and radio. Also discussed is the matter of how different networks give us different versions of key events, and the complex process whereby stories on the front page one day appear on the back page one week later, and then (eventually, maybe) make it into the history books. Recounting a story shared with him by one of his coffee shop chums about his father’s chance encounter with Winston Churchill during World War II, the author ends the chapter with reflections on history, both as the study of the past and as the past itself. Drawing on memories of times spent in France and Germany, the author explores how in so many respects history lives on, and “the past” is never settled.

Keywords:   news, media, history, memory compost heap, past

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