Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Novelist and the Storyteller

The novelist has isolated himself. The birthplace of the novel is the solitary individual, who is no longer able to express himself by giving examples of his most important concerns, is himself uncounselled, and cannot counsel others.

From The Storyteller by Walter Benjamin 

Benjamin was distinguishing the novelist from the 'storyteller', by which he meant someone participating in an oral culture: that is, someone linked to their audience by direct physical contact, for whom storytelling is a bodily performance. I think that the growth of online culture has, ironically (given that all online communication is, by definition, mediated), taken us back to the age of the storyteller. It is impossible to flourish as a new writer now without communicating regularly and closely with one's audience: that is, without performing the role of author in public.

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