Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Course Readings

All read for various reasons in connection with Story, Performance, Event this past semester.

Orality & Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word by Walter J. Ong (1982)
The first few chapters of this were absolutely fascinating, with the added plus of being written in an easily-understandable style. Ong makes some interesting arguments about how writing/literacy "restructures consciousness" and is cognitively different from orality. The last chapters, though, didn't do much for me.

Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache by Keith H. Basso (1996)
Another fascinating read from this course! If I ever do fieldwork, I want to be like Basso. Great research done with the Apache community. The title and subject matter (place names) sounded boring to me at first, but Basso shows how the topic is far more complex in terms of cultural heritage and communication than one would expect.

Jack in Two Worlds: Contemporary North American Tales and Their Tellers ed. by William Bernard McCarthy (1994)
Probably one of my favorite reads this year. Each storyteller has their own section with an intro (written by another author) on his or her background and then a selected, transcribed story. Both backgrounds and stories are fascinating and delve into the history of the Jack Tales as well as aspects of modern storytelling. Several of the stories in particular are also just fantastic.

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