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New in Critical Inquiry
A Review of Civic Storytelling

For a recent issue of Critical Inquiry, Thomas Pavel reviews Civic Storytelling: The Rise of Short Forms and the Agency of Literature by Florian Fuchs. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full review. An excerpt appears below:

“This excellent book reflects on the success of proverbs, fairy tales, novellas and epiphanies in early nineteenth-century German literature. According to Fuchs, these prose genres signaled an important change in the relationship between literature and reality. Fuchs appeals to a development concerning all forms of civic discourse, which in the classical world included the rhetorical art, based on persuasive public monologues, and the topical art that governed ‘the discourse practice of participants in a political argument or conversation.’ Inspired by Hannah Arendt’s observation that in the eighteenth century the ancient ars topica declined and disappeared, Fuchs argues that in recent times the topical function of civic discourse was and still is fulfilled by the short forms of prose literature.”