“That was the way you came to know people, by the stories they told and the manner of telling.”
“Harry’s story was appropriated by his son in the way that any story is remembered fully, then retold in a fashion that suits the teller.”
And so it is with all stories: writers become aware of the problems and powers of narrative. Shakespeare at his most self-reflexive in The Winter’s Tale, while Woody Allen’s latest movie, Scoop, revels in its own self-reference—or at least that is the only way I can make sense of a movie with nothing for a plot and a resolution so ridiculous that the butler might as well have done it.
I guess writers love stories about storytellers because those are stories about the writers themselves, and we understand ourselves in terms of stories. Irving wrote short stories bordering on novellas in Garp, and much pleasure from Lord of the Rings comes with the flashes of the ancient, legendary world that ended long before the Frodo receives the ring. Much of the knowledge is conveyed through song and poetry—stories within the story.
Are we reading their stories to learn about ourselves or the teller? Just seems to indicate the latter, or at least the latter to the extent it can be separated from the former.