FFC 261

Annikki Kaivola-Bregenhøj: Narrative and Narrating: Variation in Juho Oksanen’s Storytelling.
Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia (Academia Scientiarum Fennica). 1996. 221 pp.

ISBN 951-41-0806-X (hardback)
ISBN 951-41-0807-8 (paperback)

25 euros (hardback)
21 euros (paperback)

Narratives and narrating are an important aspect of social life. People feel a need to mull over their experiences, and they do this by narrating. Folk narratives are a genre of tradition familiar to all: a good story is passed on to others, and the same narrator may repeat a favourite story in different contexts with apparent ease and lack of effort. But what happens to a narrative when it is repeated again and again, from one year to the next? What are the factors influencing the formation of the narrative, and what are the devices used by the narrator to underline the meanings embedded in it? Every narrative incorporates numerous different elements, all of which have a role to perform. Narrative and Narrating. Variation in Juho Oksanen’s Storytelling is a report of what the researcher can discern from even the smallest details of narration. The narrator in this study is Juho Oksanen (1885­1971), a former sexton from the Central Finland parish of Sysmä who had a reputation in his own community for being a good narrator. Oksanen and his verbal art are the object of this research. Close analysis of a single narrator helps us to understand the various factors contributing to the art of countless anonymous generations of narrators.

ANNIKKI KAIVOLA-BREGENHØJ is Professor of Folkloristics at the University of Turku in Finland. In addition to oral narrating her studies have covered enigmatology, popular dream interpreting and old wedding customs. She has done fieldwork in Finland, among Finns living in Sweden and among the old Finnish population around St. Petersburg in Russia. She has published books and articles in English and the Scandinavian languages.

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