Win a Family Weekend Break with Lovereading and VisitWiltshire - click here for details...

books of the month make the most of Lovereading
Search our site
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn Read the opening extract of the brand new A. J. Finn book before its publication on 22/01/2018

Homo Narrans The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Literature by John D. Niles
  

Homo Narrans The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Literature

Synopsis

Homo Narrans The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Literature by John D. Niles

It would be difficult to imagine what human life would be like without stories-from myths recited by Pueblo Indian healers in the kiva, ballads sung in Slovenian market squares, folktales and legends told by the fireside in Italy, to jokes told at a dinner table in Des Moines-for it is chiefly through storytelling that people possess a past. In Homo Narrans John D. Niles explores how human beings shape their world through the stories they tell. The book vividly weaves together the study of Anglo-Saxon literature and culture with the author's own engagements in the field with some of the greatest twentieth-century singers and storytellers in the Scottish tradition. Niles ponders the nature of the storytelling impulse, the social function of narrative, and the role of individual talent in oral tradition. His investigation of the poetics of oral narrative encompasses literary works, such as the epic poems and hymns of early Greece and the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf, texts that we know only through written versions but that are grounded in oral technique. That all forms of narrative, even the most sophisticated genres of contemporary fiction, have their ultimate origin in storytelling is a point that scarcely needs to be argued. Niles's claims here are more ambitious: that oral narrative is and has long been the chief basis of culture itself, that the need to tell stories is what distinguishes humans from all other living creatures.

Reviews

A well-documented and unusually readable and sensible synthesis of much of the work that has been done on oral culture. -MLR A welcome interweaving of areas too often and too simplistically segregated: folklore and literature, oral tradition and written tradition, performance and text. -Choice Linking the performed word of the present with the textual record of the past, Homo Narrans brings together, in mutually productive ways, what have often been contrasted-folklore and literature. This readable and accessible exploration suggests that narrative and narrating are essential ways humanity fashions and refashions itself. -Mary Ellen Brown, Indiana University


About the Author

John D. Niles is Frederic G. Cassidy Professor of Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is author and editor of many books, including Beowulf: The Poem and Its Tradition and coeditor, with Allen J. Frantzen, of Anglo-Saxonism and the Construction of Social Identity.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

16th March 2010

Author

John D. Niles

More books by John D. Niles
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Publisher

University of Pennsylvania Press

Format

Paperback
296 pages

Categories

Anthropology
Literary theory

ISBN

9780812221077

I love the 'like for like' author recommendations, it's like an old friend whispering in your ear.

Emma Caddick

It is a website dedicated to those who adore reading It really is a one stop shop for book lovers. Love it!

Edel Waugh

They are bright, breezy and eager to offer a great book, then genuinely listen/respect the review one writes.

Maggie Crane

The selections are so varied and the reader reviews are so helpful. A fantastic website for those who love books.

Ann Quintilla

It's the first site that I visit when deciding on the next set of books to buy. A particular treat is being able to download an extract.

Tessa Olson

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

I love reading books I wouldn't normally choose before everyone else gets to read them!

Dawn Lynch

As for why I'd recommend Lovereading, it's simple - it's a great place to get information and reviews about new books!

Margaret Freeman

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools