114th out of 114 books — 10 voters
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Homo Narrans: The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Literature
Explores how human beings shape their world through the stories they tell. This book ponders over the nature of the storytelling impulse, the social function of narrative, and the role of individual talent in oral tradition. It also claims that the need to tell stories is what distinguishes humans from all other living creatures.
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published August 23rd 1999 by University of Pennsylvania Press
(first published 1999)
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Niles's book is multifaceted to say the least. As a confluence of his two main areas of research, Anglo-Saxon poetry and oral traditional storytelling and singing, particularly in modern Scotland, the book is an interesting exercise in multidisciplinary work. These two topics provide a jumping off point and raw data for a larger discussion of the role of storytelling as a socially constructive act. As Niles claims, its not language use alone that separates humans from the animals, its our abilit ...more