About This Issue


  • Herausgeber / Editors


As announced in the editorial to the previous issue, this issue of DIEGESIS is again dedicated to the subject of “illness narratives.” This time, however, we have shifted our emphasis: while the contributions on illness narratives contained in the first issue were concerned with literary fiction as well as popular fiction, the current issue foregrounds interdisciplinary aspects of the subject and focuses on the various functions of factual storytelling, including those of a pragmatic and (especially) therapeutic nature.

Lilla Farmasi, Attila Kiss, and István Szendi trace the complex nexus between life stories and mental illness. They discuss the results of a transdisciplinary cooperative project between literary scholars and psychologists, using the application of narratological theories in the field of psychiatry as an example. Marta Soares examines how the American photographer Patricia Lay-Dorsey visually copes with multiple sclerosis and how she uses two distinct basic types of narrative for her psychic survival. Taking an empirical study conducted in Japan as an example, Ryoko Watanabe illustrates what significance Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism and the pluralism of voice may have in the context of therapeutic work with patients suffering from dementia. Using the example of homeopathy, Sophia Wege investigates the functions of narratives which have a strong cultural impact and the currently highly topical conflicts surrounding the concept of understanding in our contemporary ‘information society.’ Her article, moreover, addresses the claim that what we consider ‘true’ and ‘invented’ and what we regard as ‘effective’ in cases of illness is determined by both reason and emotion.

A featured article by Daniel Teufel, Maximilian Dorner, and Pascal O. Berberat scrutinizes the relationship between narration and illness in a wider sense. Against the backdrop of a series of academic courses and workshops, it describes the concept of ‘narrative attentiveness’ which doctors may show toward their patients and discusses the possible applications of this concept in the training of medical students.

In the “My Narratology” section of this issue, Gerald Prince answers our questions concerning the forms and purposes of narratology, its future, and his conception of himself as a narratologist.