“The poet [of Beowulf] was reviving the heroic language, style, and pagan world of ancient Germanic oral poetry, a world that was already remote for his contemporaries and that is stranger to the modern reader, in many respects, than the epic world of Homer and Virgil.”
-Norton Anthology of English Language, 7th ed., Vol.1)
Oral poetry may be strange to modern readers, but if the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is any indication, storytelling may be experiencing a revival of its own. That’s one reason I’ve chosen “Storytellers Star At Edinburgh Fringe” from NPR’s Rob Gifford for the next ProfoundNet. Here’s a snippet:
Once upon a time, Scotland had a vibrant tradition of storytelling. But then wicked visual media and evil high-tech gadgets drove storytelling from the land. Until one day, the brave storytellers fought back, made their own castle and celebrated with a big festival in a town called Edinburgh.
According to Donald Smith, director of the Scottish Storytelling Center, “The tales have always been told in homes and in pubs. But now they’re entering the mainstream, as people search for something a little deeper than Facebook and Twitter.” He calls it a “magic space” that requires individuals to spend time together and embark on journeys in and out of time. “People hunger for that,” he adds.
Imagination. Community. Delight.
Literature has the ability to provide all of these things. Perhaps it takes a few brave individuals “on the fringe” to remind us what stories – what humans – are capable of offering society.
Thanks, Rob, for a thought-provoking article.