ToC: Oral Tradition
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ORAL TRADITION ISSN 0883-5365 (International Society for Studies in Oral Tradotion)
Availability: All articles from Volume 1 (1986) to today.
ToC: Oral Tradition, Volume 26, Number 1, March 2011
M. Abejunmobi. Revenge of the Spoken Word?: Writing, Performance, and New Media in Urban West Africa (p. 3)
This paper examines the impact of digital media on the relationship between writing, performance, and textuality from the perspective of literate verbal artists in Mali. It considers why some highly educated verbal artists in urban Africa self-identify as writers despite the oralizing properties of new media, and despite the fact that their own works circulate entirely through performance. The motivating factors are identified as a desire to present themselves as composers rather than as performers of texts, and to differentiate their work from that of minimally educated performers of texts associated with traditional orality.
E. Shepherd. Singing Dead Tales to Life: Rhetorical Strategies in Shandong Fast Tales (p. 27)
This article provides a brief overview of the Shandong fast tale tradition, a Chinese oral performance genre that began in rural northern China approximately four hundred years ago. Included in this overview are brief descriptions of the origins, audience composition, tale length, repertoire, and major characteristics of the stories and performances. Following these descriptions is a discussion of the expressive and rhetorical devices used by the tale-tellers as they perform live, such as formulaic language, repetition, character roles, shifts in speech register, body language, facial expressions, memory, onomatopoeia, physical humor, and hyperbolic language.
I. Beller-Hann, R. Sharshenova. Crossing Boundaries, Breaking Rules:Continuity and Social Transformation in Trickster Tales from Central Asia (p. 71)
The article investigates stories from Kyrgyzstan depicting the adventures of a folk hero in tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. These specimens of oral tradition were published in the Soviet and post-Soviet era and are therefore situated at the interface of the oral and written realms. The authors argue that these tales should not be dismissed as de-contextualized and deprived of their original meaning, but as re-contextualized narratives that have been adjusted according to changing power relations.
C. Livanos. A Case Study in Byzantine Dragon-Slaying: Digenes and the Serpent (p. 125)The Byzantine epic Digenes Akrites has similarities with ancient and medieval Iranian traditions that, in consideration of the epic's Eastern settings, suggest Iranian influences. Digenes resembles dragon-slaying heroes of other Indo-European traditions. He also resembles the Irish hero Cú Chulainn in that he is not psychologically fit to live in the midst of the community that depends on his protection. Freudian readings of Digenes' encounters with the dragon and the Amazon Maximou are proposed.
- Just Received (membership):
ORAL TRADITION ISSN 0883-5365 (International Society for Studies in Oral Tradotion)
Availability: All articles from Volume 1 (1986) to today.
ToC: Oral Tradition, Volume 26, Number 2,October 2011
====================T.A. DuBois. Juxtaposing Cogadh Gaedel re Gallaib with Orkneyinga saga (p. 267)References: 78The fields of Scandinavian studies and Celtic studies have reveled in the rich trove of vernacular literature preserved in medieval forms of Icelandic and Irish. The scholarly traditions within the fields, however, have hindered cross-cultural comparison, despite the fact that Irish and Scandinavians had abundant cultural contact and produced texts that at times refer to each other in detail. This paper explores the usefulness of comparing two often-marginalized worksthe Irish Munster saga and royal panegyric, Cogadh Gaedel re Gallaib, and the history of the earls of Orkney known as Orkneyinga saga.S. Reece. Toward an Ethnopoetically Grounded Edition of Homer's Odyssey (p. 299)Notes: 37; References: 78How would a folklorist, if miraculously transported to an eighth-century BCE social gathering in Ionia where Homer was performing a version of the Odyssey, transcribe that oral performance into a textual form? What would such a transcription and textualization look like? Simply imagining this utterly fanciful exercise forces us to raise otherwise seldom asked questions about the social setting of the performance, the demeanor and involvement of the audience, the length of the performance units, the nature of the singing, the contribution of musical instrumentation, and the function of non-verbal cues by the bard.A.P. Tate. Matija Murko, Wilhelm Radloff, and Oral Epic Studies (p. 329)Notes: 25; References: 70Commonly regarded as pioneers in the documentation of oral epic singing, Wilhelm Radloff and Matija Murko were personally acquainted and spent time together in St. Petersburg, Russia, during the 1880sa fact not widely known until now. This essay excavates Murko's (untranslated) Slovenian-language memoirs and discloses a number of historical considerations from the autobiographical account, placing this acquaintance into a wider context, always with an eye toward the history of folklore studies and with special attention paid to a history of Central European research that has been at times neglected on account of its linguistic and historical complexity.M. Murko (1861-1852)W. Radloff (1837-1918)L.A. Garner, K.M. Miller. "A Swarm in July": Beekeeping Perspectives on the Old English Wið Ymbe Charm (p. 355)Notes: 42; References: 46This exploration of an Old English charm against a swarm of bees (wið ymbe) augments and complements prior work on this enigmatic text by bringing knowledgeable and experienced beekeepers directly into the discussion. Based on insights gained through sharing the text with them and inviting their reactions, this essay offers a highly collaborative and genuinely interdisciplinary interpretation of both the charm's ritual instructions and the poetic incantation.C. Higby. Cicero the Homerist (p. 379)Notes: 17; References: 18Cicero clearly knew both the texts of Homer and the Alexandrian scholarship on those texts, but he chose not to exhibit this knowledge frequently in his works. Instead, his expertise in Homer and Homeric scholarship is displayed only in accordance with specific concerns of genre and audience: most of Cicero's Homeric citations come in his letters to Atticus; a few appear in his philosophical works; almost none are found in his speeches. Such variation shows that Cicero was well aware of the ambiguous status of Greek literature and learning in the Roman world.M.T. Cicero (106-43 BC)H. Maring. Toward a Ritual Poetics: Dream of the Rood as a Case Study (p. 391)Notes: 32; References: 49The notion of "ritual poetics" explored in this essay weds the findings of John Miles Foley's immanent art to ritual theories of signification in order to show that some features of early medieval verse may carry a metonymic force linking the spoken or oral-related written word to the vivid, multilayered experience of ritualized situations. The hypothesis that ritual features, when integrated into oral-related poems, preserve their association with lived, emergent ritual processes is examined through close analysis of Dream of the Rood.J.M. Foley (1947-2012)R.S. Garner. Oral Tradition and Sappho (p. 413)Notes: 63; References: 85Through an exploration of Sappho's verse-structuring tendencies and repeated phraseology, the current essay demonstrates that Sappho's stanzaic poetry was enabled primarily by a traditional system of composition that allowed her words to be encoded with extralexical meaning (or to use John Miles Foley's term, "traditional referentiality"). Through a renewed appreciation of these oral traditional influences on Sappho's poetry we thus can begin to approach an understanding of this art much closer to that held by its earliest ancient Greek audiences.SapphoM.D.C. Drout. Variation within Limits: An Evolutionary Approach to the Structure and Dynamics of the Multiform (p. 447)Notes: 44; References: 79This essay draws upon research in evolutionary biology and cognitive psychology to explain the evolution and stability of the oral-traditional multiform. The mind tends to categorize variable entities in terms of cognitiveprototypes. The dynamics of human mnemonic and communicative processes then generate both variability (in the absence of written texts) and contrasting selection pressure on multiform oral-traditional forms to evolve towards these mental abstractions, thereby producing the variability of the multiform. By visualizing the variation spaces of such cultural entities as adaptive landscapes, we see that variation-within-limits of the multiform, rather than being paradoxical, results from universal processes of replication and selection.D. Henderson. Leslie Marmon Silko and Simon J. Ortiz: Pathways to the Tradition (p. 477)Notes: 14; References: 37Both Leslie Marmon Silko and Simon J. Ortiz have retold the story of a 1952 murder by two Pueblo brothers, a story that both writers first heard during their childhood years as it quickly became part of the local Native American traditional corpus. Both Silko and Ortiz are self-consciously indebted to the Native American storytelling tradition, particularly with respect to its malleability in the face of change, a fluidity that operates in tension with the preservation of certain fundamental religious and philosophical constants. Accordingly, Silko and Ortiz see their stories as providing pathways to the tradition, molding, reforming, and contributing to it without departing from it. Content, tone, style, and purpose are analyzed to reveal the variants in their redactions.A.E. Porter. "Stricken to Silence": Authoritative Response, Homeric Irony, and the Peril of a Missed Language Cue (p. 493)Notes: 59; References: 88The formula "Thus he spoke, but they all were stricken to silence" (á½£Ï á¼"ÏÎ±Î¸', Î¿á¼³ Î´' á¼ÏÎ± ÏÎ¬Î½ÏÎµÏ á¼Îºá½´Î½ á¼Î³ÎÎ½Î¿Î½ÏÎ¿ ÏÎ¹ÏÏá¿) has received significant treatment in a number of recent studies, although the overarching significance of the formula for what follows in each narrative moment has not yet been fully recognized. This article offers a reconsideration of the formula's referential meaning and concludes that it introduces the authoritative response of a group while determining the trajectory of the ensuing narrative. In the two instances where the formula's cue is not followed (Il. 9.430 and Od. 20.320), Homer is employing irony to highlight Achilles' and the suitors' deafness to the pleas and warnings of others.A.B. Davis. Vernacular Phrasal Display: Towards the Definition of a Form (p. 523)Notes: 22; References: 17This essay discusses a genre of folksay, one paradoxically widely collected but little studied, lacking even a satisfactory definition or an agreed-upon name. The term "proverbial comparison"which properly acknowledges the relation of the form to proverbs as understood more broadlyhas sometimes been used to designate this form, but its defining characteristics are more commonly left to be inferred from lists of "rural-" or "old-time expressions," although the form is quite at home in contemporary urban settings. Following on the regularity with which they are attributed to particular eloquent individuals, the present article conceptualizes these speech-items as a performance genre and examines their social functions.R.F. Person, Jr. The Role of Memory in the Tradition Represented by the Deuteronomic History and the Book of Chronicles (p. 537)Notes: 9; References: 16Albert Lord and John Miles Foley have discussed the role of memory and multiformity in oral traditions. Their work helps us better understand the interplay of the oral and the written within the context of communal memory as well as the role of multiformity within the broader tradition. This essay argues that the multiformity present in the textual traditions of Samuel-Kings/Chronicles points to the existence of a broader tradition behind these texts that existed in the communal memory (both oral and written) of ancient Israel.T.W. Boyd. Memory on Canvas: Commedia dell'Arte as a Model for Homeric Performance (p. 553)Notes: 23; References: 23Although, thanks to many years of research and comparative scholarship, we have a more complete understanding of the making of the Homeric poems, it can still be useful to apply the performance practices of other oralor oral-derivedarts to increase that understanding. This essay applies the techniques of the Italiancommedia dell'arte, which combines the written and the created-in-performance, to augment our knowledge of just how such poems may originally have been performed.W.B. Kraft. Changing Traditions and Village Development in Kalotaszentkirály (p. 563)Notes: 10; References: 21The continuity of village traditions depends on the stability and cohesion of village communities. Since the opening of Transylvania after the fall of Nicolae CeauÅescu, there has been a sort of revival of Hungarian village dance and music, on the one hand, but, on the longer term, the communities themselves are threatened by economic challenges and by consequent demographic changes. This essay is based on field research conducted in Kalotaszentkirály (Sincraiu) from 1995 to 2010.B.D. Irwin. Intentionally Adrift: What The Pathways Project Can Teach Us about Teaching and Learning (p. 581)Notes: 1; References: 8Recent generations of college students, brought up in a digital world of short bytes of information and nonlinear patterns of reading, often present a particular challenge to professors of text-heavy disciplines such as literature, history, and English. This essay explores recent theories of learning and the scholarship of oral tradition, especially that of John Miles Foley, in an attempt to discover how an understanding of pathways in the oWorld and eWorld can provide us with better ways to teach texts of all types.H. Hobbs. Sean-nós i gConamara / Sean-nós in Connemara: Digital Media and Oral Tradition in the West of Ireland (p. 587)Notes: 14; References: 34In the west of Ireland, Irish-speaking regions called gaeltachts are home to a long-standing but understudied form of unaccompanied and highly ornamented singing in Irish known as sean-nós. Supported by fieldwork conducted with sean-nós singers in the South Conamara gaeltacht in 2005, this article seeks to provide an ethnographically-based introduction to sean-nós and an examination of the ways in which digital technologies are being used to continue this fascinating tradition.C. Quick. The Metonym: Rhetoric and Oral Tradition at the Crossroads (p. 597)References: 8This article explores the intersection between scholarship of rhetoric and oral tradition through the trope of the metonym. Metonymic referentiality has a persuasive function in contemporary discourse through its ability to immerse speaker and audience within a shared context. While a given rhetorical situation might not be strictly traditional in performance, the invoking of traditional associations through metonyms can be a powerful rhetorical act that, if used effectively, creates a deep sense of commonality between rhetor and audience.R.R. Mouser. Heroic Register, Oral Tradition, and the Alliterative Morte Arthure (p. 603)Notes: 12; References: 24By employing an oral traditional approach to the text, this essay investigates how the use of alliteration and speech-acts in the Alliterative Morte Arthure establishes a heroic register that marks the poem as participating in a tradition hearkening back to Old English heroic models. The text begins with an appeal to the audience to listen and to hear the tale, highlighting the importance of aurality and speech and signaling a way to "read" the poem that distinguishes it from Anglo-Norman literary tradition. By making such distinctions, this approach elucidates passages often deemed confusing, such as the two narrated deaths of the Roman Emperor Lucius.C. Schmidt. Prisons, Performance Arena, and Occupational Humor (p. 613)References: 6Correctional officers use occupational humor to communicate complex meanings. These messages are often essential to occupational and institutional well-being, yet are rarely studied. Occupational humor in correctional work takes place within a space that can be more productively understood through what has been described as the performance arena. This short study draws on the author's own ethnographic research among white, Midwestern correctional officers and concludes with a brief performance-centered analysis of a joke collected by Ted Conover.P. Ramey. Beowulf's Singers of Tales as Hyperlinks (p. 619)Notes: 5; References: 18The scenes of oral poetic performance that occur throughout Beowulf have received an array of critical responses. This essay builds upon recent work on the correlation between oral tradition and new media to argue that the depicted performances in Beowulf function similarly to hyperlinks in the way that they connect the main narrative of the poem to other traditional songs and tales. As a result of such scenes,Beowulf is structured much more like an open and ongoing performance event than a fixed or finished text.R. Knezevich. Rethinking Individual Authorship: Robert Burns, Oral Tradition, and the Twenty-First Century (p. 627)Notes: 5; References: 38The songs of late-eighteenth-century Scottish poet Robert Burns provide a rich case study of literature that challenges existing notions of the author as an autonomous entity. Responding to twenty-first-century examples of contested issues of intellectual property and plagiarism in an age of digital media, this project illustrates the ways in which precepts of oral tradition can inform our thinking about cultural production within contexts seemingly permeated by ever-present literacy or text-based thinking in order to provide a new outlook on such situations of artistic borrowing or "plagiarism."R. Burns (1759-1796)S. Zurhellen. "A Misnomer of Sizeable Proportions": SMS and Oral Tradition (p. 624)Notes: 7; References: 15As a relatively recent communication technology, SMSmore colloquially known as text-messaginghas received a good deal of attention both in popular media and the academy. For linguists in particular, text messaging has emerged as a rich source of study. This essay proposes a merger of current research on text messaging and the study of oral tradition in order to shed light on the relationship between this new mode of communication and the workings of consciousness being transformed by what John Foley has termed the eAgora.D. Updegraff. The Old English Verse Line in Translation: Steps Toward a New Theory of Page Presentation (p. 645)Notes: 11; References: 8This short essay examines the practice of printing translations of Old English poems in the predictable displays of full- and half-line lineation. While the Old English verse line cannot be said to exist as a visual construction, any prosodic system in present-day English into which an Old English poem might be translated must have visual lineation as a feature of its prosody. Accordingly, this essay insists that the interplay between the aural and visual constructions of lines should be of central concern to the verse translator.B.E. Shields. Communication Then and Now (p. 655)Notes: 4; References: 10This essay examines the preaching of Jesus in relation to research into communication in primarily oral cultures, and then turns to the consideration of the communication situation of postmodernism. Several parallels are drawn between the approach of Jesus and the demands of the postmodern hearer, which should be helpful to preachers in the twenty-first century.M.E. Grey. Remix: Pathways of the Mind (p. 663)Notes: 12; References: 9This brief piece discusses John Foley's recent work on The Pathways Project, which explores the relationship between oral tradition and Internet technology. "Mashups" serves as a case study and introduction to some principal concepts in this project, with parallels between oral tradition, the ancient cento, and contemporary mashup music illustrating the correspondences between the oral, textual, and electronic worlds.R.S. Garner. Annotated Bibliography of Works by John Miles Foley (p. 677).============================