Telling through your teeth: (re-)oralisation of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature

Theo Meder*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    One of the bones of contention of present-day folktale research concerns the relation between the written and oral tradition of stories. Especially the "fairy tale" genre, however, provides many examples of written or printed versions which preceded the oral tradition and may well have initiated it. The question posed in this contribution is whether this also applies to other narrative genres such as the joke, the anecdote or the legend. The digitalisation of Dutch books and journals provides rich material for a fruitful exchange between proponents of oral and printed transmission. Seventeenth and eighteenth-century examples of anecdotes are discussed that in the nineteenth century were deemed to be oral but, in a number of cases clearly derived from earlier printed versions. Could they have been based on older oral versions? Here examples are discussed of ATU 750B, ATU 1527A, ATU 1735, ATU 1293 and ATU 1837.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)273-+
    Number of pages18
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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