Publication Date

April 2010


Ronald Jenkins




English (United States)


The essential question that I am posing is: what makes Irish stories effective. I argue that the answer is twofold. First, through music or lyrical cadence, as well as shared values, the storyteller is able to establish his or her authority as the narrator and the veracity of the narrative. Secondly, with each session the traditional audience-performer relationship is brought into question, with the audience generally implicated in the events of the story. These two aspects bring about an affective performance. Furthermore, they are intextricably linked and each supports the establishment of the other. In this way, community is formed when the performers and audience together recognize narrative authenticity. This in turn strengthens the understanding of a narrative’s authenticity. What makes a performance Irish is a specific set of qualities bound up with storytelling. While all cultures tell stories, Irish oral performance falls into a space in-between pure orality and true l



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