Rosenthal, Gabriele (2006) The Narrated Life Story: On the Interrelation Between Experience, Memory and Narration. In: Narrative, Memory & Knowledge: Representations, Aesthetics, Contexts. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 1-16.

Interested in the experience of people as well as in their present reconstructions
of their experiences in the past, we as biographical researchers have to deal
with the distinction between the narrated personal life as related in
conversation or written in the present time and the lived-through life. When
reconstructing a past (the life history) presented in the present of a life
narrative (the life story) it must be considered that the presentation of past
events is constituted by the present of narrating. The present of the biographer
determines his or her perspective on the past and produces a specific past at
times. In the course of a life with its biographical turning points new
remembered pasts arise at each point. This construction of the past out of the
present is not, however, to be understood as a construction independent from
the respective experienced past. Instead, memory-based narratives of
experienced events are also constituted through experiences in the past. So
narratives of experienced events refer both to the current life and to the past
experience. In my paper I will present a gestalt-theoretical phenomenological
concept of the dialectical interrelation between experience, memory and
narration. Using an empirical example, namely the biography of an ethnic
German from the former Soviet Union, I will discuss this distinction between
the life history and the life story as one that must be taken into account in all
narrated and written biographies.

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