Thursday, 2 April 2009

Whats up Propp

Fairy tales are works full of convention and patterns and things that recur. The number three, certain trees, the stepmother, greed, capes and eating.

Been thinking about what makes a narrative a narrative, and reading lots about it. How do you define a story? It's a lot about causality.
The king died and the queen died is not a narrative.
The king died and then the queen died of grief is. Or something. I'm not sure I've completely grasped it, and anyway it's all opinion.

Anyway, there is a fellow called Vladimir Propp who analysed about a hundred Russian folk tales (Morphology of the Folk Tale, 1927). He looked at the common features and broke them up into 31 chunks. Propp said that every folk tale is in the same order, though it may not include every narrateme.

By the wonders of the internet you handily click on propp's 31 elements and this little machine will spurn out a ready made folk tale.

It's like chewing on centuries of russian peasantry and spitting it out on a screen.

No comments:

Post a Comment