Storytelling and truthtelling: discursive practices of news-storytelling in Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and John Hersey
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Focusing on new-journalistic nonfiction novels by Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and John Hersey, this dissertation conceptualizes the discursive practices of news-storytelling as a necessary matrix of storytelling and truthtelling activities. Despite the dominant postmodern emphasis on storytelling over truthtelling in such disciplines as literature, historiography, journalism, and legal studies, storytelling-in-the-discipline is also constrained by a set of assumptions and practices about what constitutes professional storytelling. Since news-stories report on events in a public arena where numerous competing stories abound, they are highly aware of other neighboring stories and so relate, compete, and negotiate with other stories to make their stories not merely repetitive but argumentative and re-tellable. As a socially regulated and conditioned discourse, news-storytelling in its enterprise is predicated upon different sets of discursive authorities, material conditions, and audience expectations, where various facts and interpretations are argued, tested, and judged. Chapter I briefly surveys the ways in which news-stories?? claim to referentiality is problematized and even stigmatized by the postmodern ethos of storytelling. Chapter II then explores the discursive dynamics of newsstories, which arise from the paradoxical status of being simultaneously news and a story. Particularly, this chapter highlights the discursive practice of ??source marking?? and ??counter-storytelling?? through which news-storytellers foreground their reliability as able researchers, analysts, and contenders. Chapter III discusses the issue of (inter-) textuality in the vectors of storyteller and the world, and examines how news-storytellers draw on, blend into, and counter competing and neighboring stories to situate their own stories in the web of intertextuality and to reinforce the competency, honesty, and quality of their news-stories. Chapter IV is a historical examination of a ??transcript?? mode, a particular discursive practice of news-storytellers, through which they try to uphold the empirical status of their news-stories. Chapter V concludes the dissertation by arguing that news-stories provide a clarifying vantage point from which to understand the transactions of historical discourse, where newsstorytelling replaces (story) knowledge with argument, poetics with rhetoric, and a story with a discourse.