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The Art of the Story-Teller   By: (1854-1935)

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This etext was created by Doug Levy, literra scripta manet .

ART OF THE STORY TELLER, by MARIE L. SHEDLOCK

PREFACE.

Some day we shall have a science of education comparable to the science of medicine; but even when that day arrives the art of education will still remain the inspiration and the guide of all wise teachers. The laws that regulate our physical and mental development will be reduced to order; but the impulses which lead each new generation to play its way into possession of all that is best in life will still have to be interpreted for us by the artists who, with the wisdom of years, have not lost the direct vision of children.

Some years ago I heard Miss Shedlock tell stories in England. Her fine sense of literary and dramatic values, her power in sympathetic interpretation, always restrained within the limits of the art she was using, and her understanding of educational values, based on a wide experience of teaching, all marked her as an artist in story telling. She was equally at home in interpreting the subtle blending of wit and wisdom in Daudet, the folk lore philosophy of Grimm, or the deeper world philosophy and poignant human appeal of Hans Christian Andersen.

Then she came to America and for two or three years she taught us the difference between the nightingale that sings in the tree tops and the artificial bird that goes with a spring. Cities like New York, Boston, Pittsburgh and Chicago listened and heard, if sometimes indistinctly, the notes of universal appeal, and children saw the Arabian Nights come true.

Yielding to the appeals of her friends in America and England, Miss Shedlock has put together in this little book such observations and suggestions on story telling as can be put in words. Those who have the artist's spirit will find their sense of values quickened by her words, and they will be led to escape some of the errors into which even the greatest artists fall. And even those who tell stories with their minds will find in these papers wise generalizations and suggestions born of wide experience and extended study which well go far towards making even an artificial nightingale's song less mechanical. To those who know, the book is a revelation of the intimate relation between a child's instincts and the finished art of dramatic presentation. To those who do not know it will bring echoes of reality. Earl Barnes.

CONTENTS.

PART I. THE ART OF STORY TELLING.

CHAPTER.

I. THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE STORY. II. THE ESSENTIALS OF THE STORY. III. THE ARTIFICES OF STORY TELLING. IV. ELEMENTS TO AVOID IN SELECTION OF MATERIAL. V. ELEMENTS TO SEEK IN THE CHOICE OF MATERIAL. VI. HOW TO OBTAIN AND MAINTAIN THE EFFECT OF THE STORY. VII. QUESTIONS ASKED BY TEACHERS.

PART II. THE STORIES.

STURLA, THE HISTORIAN. A SAGA. THE LEGEND OF ST. CHRISTOPHER. ARTHUR IN THE CAVE. HAFIZ, THE STONE CUTTER. TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH. THE PROUD COCK. SNEGOURKA. THE WATER NIXIE. THE BLUE ROSE. THE TWO FROGS. THE WISE OLD SHEPHERD. THE FOLLY OF PANIC. THE TRUE SPIRIT OF A FESTIVAL DAY. FILIAL PIETY.

THREE STORIES FROM HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. THE SWINEHERD. THE NIGHTINGALE. THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA.

PART III. LIST OF STORIES. BOOKS SUGGESTED TO THE STORY TELLER AND BOOKS REFERRED TO IN THE LIST OF STORIES.

INTRODUCTION.

Story telling is almost the oldest art in the world the first conscious form of literary communication. In the East it still survives, and it is not an uncommon thing to see a crowd at a street corner held by the simple narration of a story. There are signs in the West of a growing interest in this ancient art, and we may yet live to see the renaissance of the troubadours and the minstrels whose appeal will then rival that of the mob orator or itinerant politician... Continue reading book >>




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