Or Words to That Effect

Orality and the writing of literary history

| Queen's University
| University of Toronto
ISBN 9789027234643 | EUR 130.00 | USD 195.00
ISBN 9789027267801 | EUR 130.00 | USD 195.00
This volume raises questions about why oral celebrations of language receive so little attention in published literary histories when they are simultaneously recognized as fundamental to our understanding of literature. It aims to prompt debate regarding the transformations needed for literary historians to provide a more balanced and fuller appreciation of what we call literature, one that acknowledges the interdependence of oral storytelling and written expression, whether in print, pictorial, or digital form. Rather than offering a summary of current theories or prescribing solutions, this volume brings together distinguished scholars, conventional literary historians, and oral performer-practitioners from regions as diverse as South Africa, the Canadian Arctic, the Roma communities of Eastern Europe and the music industry of the American West in a conversation that engages the reader directly with the problems that they have encountered and the questions that they have explored in their work with orality and with literary history.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Daniel F. Chamberlain and J. Edward Chamberlin
J. Edward Chamberlin
Section I. Taking Up the Issues
Histories of Literature and the Question of Comparative Oral Literary History
Daniel F. Chamberlain
Levelling the Orality-Literacy Playing Field: Marcel Jousse’s Laboratory of Awareness and the Oral-Literary Continuum
Edgard Sienaert
Modes of Discourse, Modes of Rationality
David R. Olson
Performing Writing and Singing Silence in the Anglo-Saxon Riddle Tradition
Andy Orchard
Section II. Listening Performances
In The Storyteller’s House
Dan Yashinsky
The Game of the Little Secrets or How to Learn (and to Teach) Mechanisms of Orality
Paloma Díaz-Mas
Significant Spaces Between: Making Room for Silence
Daniel Heath Justice
The Story of Story and a Canon of Story
Stuart McHardy
Made for You and Me: Treaties with First Nations and the Settlement of Canada
Michael Asch
Section III. Stories of Storytelling
“Oral” in Literary History: The Case of Southern African Literatures
Michael Chapman
Making Space for the Spoken Word
Keavy Martin
Orality in Basque Literary Historiography
Jon Kortazar
The Ladder Holds Up the World Above
Lee Haring
Oral and Written Šukar Laviben of the Roma: The Beginning of a Romani Literary Historiography
Beate Eder-Jordan
Section IV. Communities in Comparative Encounters
Guaman Poma and His Traces: A Colonial Proposal to the Academic Debate Regarding Orality and Writing
Roberto Viereck Salinas
The Study of the Elements of Literary History of the Khoekhoe and ǂKhomani Languages of Southern Africa
Levi Namaseb
The Stream of ǂKhomani Stories
Neil Ten Kortenaar
The Puzzle of Voice: Oral Poetry and Literary Studies
Frederico Augusto Garcia Fernandes
Talking Technologies: Digital Poetry Meets Orality
María Teresa Vilariño Picos
List of Contributors
“This is a formidable book which manages a broad range, sustains a high scholarly standard, and maintains a lucid ethical focus: a rare trifecta.”
Cited by

Cited by 3 other publications

Daymond, Margaret, Weishin Gui, Michael Griffiths, Christine Lorre-Johnston, Dougal McNeill, Ashlee Nelson, Michael Niblett, Ira Raja, Paul Sharrad, Lynda Spencer, Tina Steiner & Mark Williams
2018. XVIIINew Literatures. The Year's Work in English Studies 97:1  pp. 1134 ff. Crossref logo
Olson, David R.
2020. On the Use and Misuse of Literacy: Comments on “The Mind on Paper”. Interchange 51:1  pp. 89 ff. Crossref logo
Werberger, Annette
2019.  In Vergleichende Weltliteraturen / Comparative World Literatures,  pp. 323 ff. Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 12 september 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.

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Subjects & Metadata


Writing and literacy

Literature & Literary Studies

Theoretical literature & literary studies
BIC Subject: DSB – Literary studies: general
BISAC Subject: LIT006000 – LITERARY CRITICISM / Semiotics & Theory
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2015037912 | Marc record