The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation

The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation

The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation

The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation

Synopsis

Dennis Tedlock presents startling new methods for transcribing, translating, and interpreting oral performance that carry wide implications for all areas of the spoken arts. Moreover, he reveals how the categories and concepts of poetics and hermeneutics based in Western literary traditions cannot be carried over in their entirety to the spoken arts of other cultures but require extensive reevaluation.

Excerpt

Now
I'll
tell you one of those Zuni stories.
(opening a book) My apologies for
relying on the
script
this is the story of the Shumeekuli.
Shumeekuli
is something like a kachina, one of these
beings who wears a mask whenever you see him --
when they're among themselves they don't wear masks; when they
come to visit people they do.

First published in Alcheringa, n.s. 2, no. 1 (1976): 130-32, as part of a transcript of a taperecording of a longer talk given at the First International Ethnopoetics Symposium, held at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee in March 1975. the book referred to is Dennis Tedlock, Finding the Center, where the story retold here was first published (pp. 217-22). Behind that version is a tape-recording of a 1965 performance in the Zuni language by Andrew Peynetsa, available in the library of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.

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