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Bodies of SongKabir Oral Traditions and Performative Worlds in Northern India$
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Linda Hess

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199374168

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199374168.001.0001

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Oral Tradition in the Twenty-First Century

Oral Tradition in the Twenty-First Century

Exploring Theory

(p.203) 5 Oral Tradition in the Twenty-First Century
Bodies of Song

Linda Hess

Oxford University Press

“Orality” has been central to many studies of literature, performance, and communication since 1960, starting with landmark works like Albert Lord’s The Singer of Tales and Marshall McLuhan’s The Gutenberg Galaxy. Some distinguish sharply between “oral” and “literate,” then slide to “essential” differences between orality and literacy, ear and eye, pre- and postliterate cultures. If one tries to update these views, does anything of the old orality theory remain? With more sophisticated understandings of media, can the category of “oral-performative” stand? When we understand that the senses do not operate separately, can we say anything about the differences between hearing and reading? In light of current neuroscience and communication studies, does “orality” exist?

Keywords:   orality theory, media, sound, communication, neuroscience

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