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Storytelling: Communicating with Language

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Reflect on the process of storytelling, the role of the poet, and on communicating concepts via language.

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The expert examines communicating with languages.

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When we think of storytelling, a student needs to go way back in history, before Guttenberg created his press of moveable type, and his bible. Before the use of printing presses, all stories were written by hand or spoken and then perhaps written. Story telling needs to give the full spectrum of feeling, and have characters and events that people can relate to and understand.

We have Aesop, who wrote his famous fables, or, told them until someone wrote them down. He was a slave in Egypt.

The Greek historian Herodotus mentions in passing that "Aesop the fable writer" was a slave who lived in Ancient Greece during the 5th century BCE [1]. Among references in other writers, Aristophanes, in his comedy The Wasps, represented the protagonist Philocleon as having learnt the "absurdities" of Aesop from conversation at banquets; Plato wrote in Phaedo that Socrates whiled away his jail time turning some of Aesop's fables "which he knew" into verses. Nonetheless, for two main reasons [2] - because numerous morals within Aesop's attributed fables contradict each other, and because ancient accounts of Aesop's life contradict each other - the modern view is that Aesop probably did not solely compose all those fables attributed to him, if he even existed at all [2]. Modern scholarship reveals fables and proverbs of "Aesopic" form existing in both ancient Sumer and Akkad, as early as the third millennium BCE [3].

[1] The Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus. trans. George Rawlinson, Book I, p.132

[2] a b D. L. Ashliman, "Introduction," in George Stade (Consulting Editorial Director), Aesop's Fables. New York, New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, published by Barnes & Noble Books (2005). Produced and published in conjunction with New York, New York: Fine Creative Media, Inc. Michael J. Fine, President and Publisher. See pp. xiii-xv and xxv-xxvi.

[3] John F. Priest, "The Dog in the Manger: In Quest of a Fable," in The Classical Journal, Volume 81, No. 1, (October-November, 1985), pp. 49-58.

Let's include Homer, and his incredible tales of war and home coming.

When we think of the blind poet Homer with relation to Ancient Greece, the first thing that comes to our mind is his beautiful epic ...

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