Necessity breathes life into art.
As a listener I don't want art that's nice, clean and a perfect match for somebody's sofa. I don't want generalities. I don't want archetypes. Any sophisticated smart talked surface is wasted, if beneath there's not a raw core of necessity, dripping of the artists pains and angers, and glowing of her intense will to act.
In this essay I want to shed some light on the effect of necessity in storytelling.
Theoretically I could have done this by analysing oral contemporary stories (and oral stories are always contemporary). But being a cultural historian, I regard the past as a useful thinking tool: In the present we tactfully conceal our selves and our fellow human beings under a smooth collective surface. In the past the scientist should feel free to shamelessly aim for the individual, as close as the sources permits. Tactfulness is out of place, as he who has left traces in writing, must have done so for them to be followed.
I have been following the traces left by Marie de France in her 12th century trouvère tale Lanval, by Jean d´Arras in Mélusine, written in Poitou, 1393, and by Jón Guðmundsson in his tales Ljúflingskonan and Selameyjan from 17th century Iceland.Lanval, Ljúflingskonan and Selameyjan are included in Norwegian translations, for the very first time. The mention stories all include the same storyline, indicating that the storytellers based their tales on already existing art. This way of working is much more common in storytelling than in other art forms. I m examining this phenomenon, not by searching for common features; the common features are visible already, they are of no interest. What s of interest is the individual and contextual, and the necessities that brought the story to life.
Sad enough, the reaction I got when I presented these very interesting perspectives for an essay to certain persons, was "What about the folk?" What about them?! I was actually tempted just to scream "Grow up, idiots!". But I didn t. In stead I included an extra bonus section featuring the necessities of the individuals who made "the folk" into a household tale, namely the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Original title: Fortellinger om nødvendigheten og fortellerkunsten Language: NorwegianContact: firstname.lastname@example.org