John's Reviews > The Singer of Tales

The Singer of Tales by Albert Bates Lord
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Jan 22, 11

bookshelves: poetics, mythology
Read from November 10, 2010 to January 01, 2011

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John How did the pre-literate oral poets, singers, story tellers transmit their stories from generation to generation for thousands of years and how do such similar stories appear all over the world?
1) the stories are not transmitted by rote memory from one teller to another.
2) Formulas, themes and stories are learned and they the teller "composes" the story each time he tells it.
3) There is no "standard" version to compare each telling to, so each story is traditional and innovative.

A search for a literal history in oral (even or especially recorded oral stories)is completely inappropriate. History was a story, not a collection of data and dates.
I guess I knew the story part from my wife's accounting of the old testament. The formula/theme part is new.


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