What is the essence of story? How does the storyteller convey meaning? Leading scholar Harold Scheub tackles these questions and more, demonstrating that the power of story lies in emotion.
While others have focused on the importance of structure in the art of story, Scheub emphasizes emotion. He shows how an expert storyteller uses structural elements—image, rhythm, and narrative—to shape a story's fundamental emotional content. The storyteller uses traditional images, repetition, and linear narrative to move the audience past the story’s surface of morals and ideas, and make connections to their past, present, and future. To guide the audience on this emotional journey is the storyteller’s art.
The traditional stories from South African, Xhosa, and San cultures included in the book lend persuasive support to Scheub’s. These stories speak for themselves, demonstrating that a skilled performer can stir emotions despite the obstacles of space, time, and culture.