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Difference and OrientationAn Alexander Kluge Reader$
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Alexander Kluge and Richard Langston

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501739200

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501739200.001.0001

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Theory of Storytelling

Theory of Storytelling

Lecture One

(p.100) 6 Theory of Storytelling
Difference and Orientation

Alexander Kluge

, Richard Langston
Cornell University Press

This chapter studies the first of four lectures that Alexander Kluge gave in 2012 in conjunction with the acclaimed series, Frankfurt Lectures on Poetics. Kluge's Frankfurt lectures were entitled, “Theory of Storytelling.” A praxis of poetics and narrative can be explained. A collection of every practical experience is also a task none too difficult. A theory, however, is something very difficult. Kluge uses the term “theory” in the sense of Critical Theory. Theory in the sense of Critical Theory is always nourished on interests that are simultaneously practical, political, and vital. It does not theorize in any old manner, but rather serves as an orientation for essential questions. Kluge then explains that reality has many properties when it comes to narration. When it comes to enumeration, registration, or balancing accounts, reality is fairly straightforward. But once one begins to tell stories, one begins to notice that reality has catacombs, wells, and abysses. Below every linear narrative lie happiness and misfortune. In addition to the objective inconsistencies of reality, which are neither smooth nor clear and thus constitute a kind of spirit world, there exists within humans an antirealism of feeling. Kluge also provides a definition of narrative and notes that narrative distinguishes itself from information quite clearly.

Keywords:   Alexander Kluge, Frankfurt Lectures on Poetics, storytelling, poetics, narrative, theory, Critical Theory, orientation, reality, narration

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