chapter  1
14 Pages

The Epic Storyteller

WithFrederick Turner

This chapter explores the various elements under the general topic of the epic storyteller: the self-referential prayer or invocation, the appeal to tradition, the use of frame tales, the mnemonic theme of the blind poet, and the plot device of the carrying of the tale itself to the ears. The muse is a spirit of invention, of fiction, but she is also a god, and is authorized by God or at least the other gods to communicate truths to the poet. One of the most remarkable features of world epic is the astonishing uniformity of the epic poet's social role across the globe. Epic's preoccupation with the tale as tale and the role of the storyteller often extends even further, to include the story of how the story itself comes to us. Modern epics continue to find ingenious and epistemologically interesting uses for storyteller self-referentiality.