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.
Or Words to That Effect: Orality and the writing of literary history
Queen’s University / University of Toronto