Three Versions of One Story

Charlotte Linde

in Working the Past

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780195140286
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199871247 | DOI:
Three Versions of One Story

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This chapter analyzes three examples of a single story about the founder: two written versions and an oral version. The comparison demonstrates two separate dynamics in the life of a narrative within an institution. The first shows how a speaker's position shapes the microstructure of the narrative: in particular, how a story about the founder is told either as an account of his management skills, or as an account of his care for his agents, and the skills and character traits which his agents still share with him. The comparison also shows the complex relation between written and oral narrative: the continuous movement of a narrative from oral form to written form back to oral form, which continues without a final fixed version. Thus, the process of transmission of folk tales and oral culture is shown to be alive in the American corporation.

Keywords: written; oral stories; narrative comparison; folk tales; folklore; oral culture; corporate folklore; orality; literacy; teaching stories

Chapter.  9188 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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