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Oral Tradition as History

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  29 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Jan Vansina’s 1961 book, Oral Tradition, was hailed internationally as a pioneering work in the field of ethno-history. Originally published in French, it was translated into English, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and Hungarian. Reviewers were unanimous in their praise of Vansina’s success in subjecting oral traditions to intense functional analysis.
Now, Vansina—with the bene
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 15th 1985 by University of Wisconsin Press (first published May 1st 1985)
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Mark Bowles
Aug 30, 2014 Mark Bowles rated it really liked it
Oral Tradition as Process
* The process is a transmission of messages by mouth over a period of time
* News and experience are the 2 main types of messages
* As the messages are passed down they become oral tradition
* Types of oral tradition: Memorized speech, accounts of events, fictitious tales
* Oral traditions can be a source of history
* Performance, Tradition, and Text
* The question of authenticity begins with examining the performance, then establishing the relationship to the tradition, then
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Flint Johnson
Jan 02, 2014 Flint Johnson rated it it was amazing
I admit to being pleasantly surprised this book has even been received. As a graduate student I was repeatedly told not to believe any of the oral materials I might come across. My superiors were so vague, however, that I had a hard time believing them. This book lays out clearly the issues and advantages of oral materials. Using Vansina in conjunction with Molly Miller's work was a great boon to my own research. He has truly done his homework to draw the conclusions he has.
Clifton Toliver
This book is still considered to be the bible when it comes to the study of oral tradtion. It covers the full spectrum of research into this subject matter. This book is well researched, well written, and is very thought provoking. If you study oral literature this book would be an ideal addition to your library. Just make sure you get the revised 1985 edition. I think if you read it along with Ruth Finnegan's book Oral Poetry, and Albery Lord's The Singer Of tales you will learn a great deal ...more
Anthony Buccitelli
This is a surprisingly relevant book for folklorists, despite the fact that it was originally published in the 1950s and revised in the 1980s.

Many of Vansina's comments are old hat for folklorists these days; nevertheless, he offers a rigorous theoretical approach to the study of folk history that is well worth reading.
Nicolle
Nicolle rated it liked it
May 11, 2011
Adam
May 18, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it
Very interesting book on oral history as a tool in historical reconstruction and interpretation...
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Shelves: historiography
Theoretische uiteenzetting over de mondelinge overlevering, sterk gericht op Afrika.
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