Term of Art: Oral Tradition

“Oral Tradition: Poetry belonging to this tradition is composed orally, or made up as the poet goes along. As a rule, it is the product of illiterate or semi-literate societies. It is usually sung or chanted (often to musical accompaniment) and is the earliest of all poetry, in the sense that it precedes written poetry. It is still alive in many parts of the world, and in some regions of Europe: for instance, Sicily, the remoter parts of Greece, and in the central Balkans (especially Bosnia, Serbia and Macedonia). In the upland districts of Yugoslavia it is still possible to find a guslar (q.v.) reciting verses on recent events. See also BALLAD; BYLINA; EPIC; FOLKSONG; NARODNE PESME”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.