A word in fourhundred words – narrative

The term “narration” finds its origins in Latin, deriving from the noun “narratio” and the verb “narrare,” which relates to “gnarus.” In Latin, “narratio” refers to the act of recounting or narrating a story. The connection with the adjective “gnarus” adds depth to the word, implying that narratives are not merely stories but accounts that convey knowledge, expertise, and understanding.

In modern usage, narratives are structured accounts of events, experiences, or information presented in a coherent and sequential manner. They play a crucial role in human communication, allowing individuals to share their experiences, perspectives, and emotions, fostering empathy and understanding through various forms such as literature, films, oral storytelling, and personal accounts.

In the world of health and medicine, narratives have gained significant importance for both healthcare professionals and patients. Narrative medicine emphasizes actively listening to patients’ stories, enabling a deeper understanding of their illness experiences, emotions, and beliefs. This approach promotes a more empathetic and patient-centered care model, as healthcare providers can better grasp patients’ needs, concerns, and necessities.

An “illness narrative” refers to a patient’s account of their illness journey, encompassing experiences, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and the impact of the illness on their life. There are various forms of illness narratives, both fictional and non-fictional, from literary memoirs that delve deeply into surrounding life to more straightforward accounts that discuss the impact of illness.

Fictional illness narratives offer an opportunity for creative expression and exploration of the emotional landscape of illness. Novels and stories can delve into the psychological aspects of illness, allowing readers to empathize with characters and the physical or mental struggles they face. While fictional illness narratives are not real experiences, they often draw from the author’s observations and research, depicting the multifaceted nature of illness and its effects on society.

Moreover, illness narratives extend beyond the realm of traditional literature. In recent times, the digital era has given rise to various forms of illness narratives, such as blogs, vlogs, and social media posts. Through these platforms, individuals share their experiences with a wider audience, fostering a sense of community and support among people facing similar health challenges.

In conclusion, the etymology of “narration” emphasizes its essence as a means to convey knowledge and understanding through storytelling. In the healthcare field, narrative medicine underscores the importance of actively listening to patients’ stories to provide empathetic and patient-centered care, while illness narratives, whether in fiction or non-fiction, offer profound insights into the multifaceted nature of illness.

Enrica Leydi

Born in Milan, she obtained a three-year degree in Modern Literature at the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna. She is currently completing her Master's degree in Italian Studies at the same university in Emilia. She has been collaborating with ISTUD since April 2021 as coordinator of the journal "Cronache di Sanità e Medicina Narrativa".

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.