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Extra info for A Tolkien Compass: Including J. R. R. Tolkien's Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings

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The exercise of writing is itself prone to the unseen network of economic processes. The satires of Mark Twain also run counter to the doctrine of the well-made story. As Twain observes in his essay ‘How to Tell a Story’ (1895), ‘The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling . . [It] may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it pleases’ (Twain 1993: 195). Twain links his own writing to two traditions, the yarn and the picaresque, both of which are oral in origin.

Conrad 1978: 116) The question of authenticity is compounded by the absence of the speaker, a stevedore and amateur storyteller. Like Benjamin’s lament for storytelling, Conrad’s narrative revolves around a disappearing centre. Yet, the unedited quality of the narration, however much it might be a conceit, attests to the legacy of the storyteller. The vocal expressiveness of storytelling lingers but as a kind of spectre. The ghostly presence of oral and folk culture has been especially important to postmodern writers.

Memories haunt Máximo just as the residue of oral narratives – tales, jokes, anecdotes – haunt the exiled imagination. Further Reading On the relationship between oral and print culture, see Walter J. Ong (1982). Mary Louise Pratt considers the role of orality in ‘The Short Story: The Long and the Short of It’, reprinted by Charles E. May (1994). Roland Barthes’ essay, ‘The Grain of the Voice’, in Image Music Text (1977) is suggestive for literature as well as music. 4 Poe, O. Henry and the Well-Made Story In their respective essays, ‘The Painter of Modern Life’ (1859) and ‘The Storyteller’ (1936), Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin praised the tales of Edgar Allan Poe.

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