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The Content of the Form

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The Content of the Form

Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation

Hayden White probes the notion of authority in art and literature and examines the problems of meaning—its production, distribution, and consumption—in different historical epochs. In the end, he suggests, the only meaning that history can have is the kind that a narrative imagination gives to it. The secret of the process by which consciousness invests history with meaning resides in "the content of the form," in the way our narrative capacities transform the present into a fulfillment of a past from which we would wish to have descended.