The Patterning of Style: Indices of Performance through Ethnopoetic Analysis of Century-old Wax Cylinders

Alexander David King

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Abstract

This article demonstrates the value of Dell Hyme's theory of ethnopoetics through an analysis of two Koryak stories recorded during the winter of 1900-1901. It builds upon a tradition of linguistic anthropology established by Franz Boas. I provide some background to Boasian documentation of oral literature as well as Hymes's theory of ethnoppoetics and then offer a close reading of two stories in Koryak. Such close analysis uncovers the artistry of the storytellers, and i discuss aesthetic commonalities as well as differences among texts produced by Koryak narrators. Hymesian ethnopoetic analysis can uncover indices of performance in the written transcription of sound recordings. The complete texts of the two stories are formatted in Hymesian verse form and presented in appendices. A commentary to this essay by Richard Bauman appears later in this special issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-77
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Folklore Research
Volume50
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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