english_Cinderella notes - Universality of the Folktale...

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“Universality of the Folktale” – Stith Thompson “When we confine our view to our own occidental world, we see that for at least three or four thousand years, and doubtless for ages before, the art of the storyteller has been cultivated in every rank of society.” 587-2 “…the traditional prose tale—the story which has been handed down from generation to generation either in writing or by word of mouth.” 587-3 “folktale….” “all forms of prose, written or oral, which have come to be handed down through the years.” 588-4 “The great written collections of stories characteristic of India, the Near East, the classical world, and Medieval Europe are almost entirely traditional. They copy and recopy. A tale which gains favor in one collection is taken over into others, sometimes intact and sometimes with changes of plot or characterization. The history of such a story, passing it may be from India to Persia and Arabia and Italy and France and finally to England, copied and changed from manuscript to manuscript, is often exceedingly complex. For it goes through the hands of both skilled and bungling narrators and improves or deteriorates at nearly every retelling. However well or poorly such a story may be written down, it always attempts to preserve a tradition….” 588-6 “…it is impossible to make a complete separation of the written and the oral traditions.” 588-7 “Its effects are no longer produced indirectly by association with words written or printed on a page, but directly through facial expression and gesture and repetition and recurrent patterns that generations have tested and found effective.” 589-9 Characteristics: Repetition
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english_Cinderella notes - Universality of the Folktale...

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