Center for Studies in Oral Tradition logo John Miles Foley, Founding Director

Oral-Formulaic Theory: Annotated Bibliography

Franz H. Bäuml. "Medieval Literacy and Illiteracy: An Essay toward the Construction of a Model." In Germanic Studies in Honor of Otto Springer. Ed. S. Kaplowitt. Pittsburgh: K&S Enterprises. pp. 41-54.

Receptionalist analysis of written versus oral texts, stressing oral tradition's identification of audience, poet, and narrative. Understands the written transmission of a text as a process which must demonstrate "norms" within the text, whereas in the oral text tradition predetermines expectations and perceptual cues. The model also prescribes two kinds of audiences, one created by each form. Notes that oral versions of MHG epics such as the Nibelungenlied and Kudrun have never been in dispute, that the real problem is to recover the social context of literacy and nonliteracy that prevailed as these oral works passed into print.
Area: MHG