But the eye and the ear are different listeners, are different audience. And the literary storyteller is one who must try to bring eye and ear into synchronization. But it is a subtle art.…the art of storytelling in the printed book must persuade and captivate. It must hold the reader as the spoken tale holds the listener…
—Jane Yolen, introduction to Folk Tales of the World
The Relationship between Teller and Listeners
At the heart of any told story—told out loud or on the page—is a relationship: the relationship between the storyteller and the audience.
In oral cultures, the existence of stories depends entirely on this relationship; without it, the story would not be told, could not be remembered. In cultures without writing, stories depend for their lives on the face-to-face engagement of tellers and listeners.
Until the twentieth century, almost all fiction replicated this relationship: the narrator of the story was talking TO his or her readers. But then the nature of written storytelling changed. Wallace Hildeck (a writer and teacher) points out: Read More