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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Scottish Ethnology

Undergraduate Course: Traditional Narrative: Theory and Practice (SCET10033)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is an introduction to the study of traditional narrative. We explore the diverse ways that scholars have attempted to account for the origin, transmission and practice of traditional tales, including psychoanalysis, Oral-Formulaic theory and the Historic-Geographical method. From this interdisciplinary vantage point, we give close attention to the storytelling heritage of Scotland and Ireland, using materials from the School of Scottish Studies Archives and other sources.
Course description This course aims to provide students with a critical awareness of the theories and methodologies informing contemporary research on traditional narrative. A further aim is to equip students with the skills and knowledge required for investigating the narrative traditions of Scotland and Ireland.
Diverse synchronic and diachronic approaches to studying the folktale are surveyed, including psychoanalysis, performance theory, the Historic-Geographic method, Oral-Formulaic theory and Proppian analysis. We also consider attendant controversies, such as the lively debate over the origins of the 'fairy tale' genre. We explore the cognitive processes underlying the encoding and recall of complex narratives, and the contributions of orality and literacy in transmission. We also discuss key constructs such as motifs and tale types and their place in the taxonomies of national folktale archives.
Students encounter a range of traditional narrative genres such as the legend, hero tale and international tale. During their coursework, they gain valuable experience working in the School of Scottish Studies Archives and with on-line repositories useful for narrative research. Tales are read in Scots and English; Gaelic language material is read in translation. Students literate in Gaelic are encouraged to engage with sources in the original language.
Student Learning Experience Information: The course has a programme of a weekly two-hour lecture and a fortnightly autonomous learning group (ALG). For the ALGs, students are expected to prepare short presentations on compulsory texts. Lectures incorporate interactive elements and students are expected to carry out key readings before attending. Students demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes through their course work, final examination and solid engagement in ALGs.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Scotland and Orality (SCET08008)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have a background within the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) For undergraduate students, assessment to comprise:
1. Automatic quizzes (0% optional)
2. Reading journals and ALG debate (5%)
3. Fairy-tale composition and Proppian analysis: 3000 words (40%)
4. Essay: 3000 words (55%)

For postgraduate students, assessment to comprise:
1. Automatic quizzes (0%: optional)
2. Reading journals (0%: optional)
3. Fairy-tale composition and Proppian analysis: 4000 words (40%)
4. Essay: 4000 words (60%)
Feedback The essay proposal, submitted near the half-way mark, will provide a feed-forward opportunity.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate critical awareness of a range of theoretical approaches to studying traditional narrative
  2. show a working knowledge of the genres of traditional narrative in Scotland and Ireland, and relevant taxonomical system
  3. identify and evaluate the typical practices and performance contexts of traditional narrative
  4. demonstrate the application of useful and precise critical terminology associated with the discipline
  5. demonstrate competence in transferable skills, e.g. close engagement with texts, critical evaluation of source material, independent reading, coherent and clearly structured writing, group discussion and time management
Reading List
Aarne, Antti, and Stith Thompson. The Types of the Folktale, a Classification and Bibliography. Folklore Fellows Communications 184. Helsinki: Academia Scientarium Fennica 1973.

Bauman, Richard. 1984. Verbal Art as Performance (Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press).

_____. 1986. Story, Performance and Event: Contextual Studies of Oral Narrative (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

_____. 2004. A World of Others' Words: Cross-cultural Perspectives on Intertextuality (Oxford: Blackwell).

Bottigheimer, Ruth B. 2009. Fairy tales: a new history (Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press).

Bruford, Alan. Gaelic Folk-Tales and Medieval Romances. Dublin: The Folklore of Ireland Society, 1969.

_____. ¿Scottish Gaelic Witch-Stories: A Provisional Type List¿. Scottish Studies 11: 13-47.

_____ ¿Legends Long Since Localised or Tales Still Travelling?¿ Scottish Studies 24: 43-62.

_____. ¿A Lost MacMhuirich Manuscript¿. Scottish Gaelic Studies 10: 158-62.

_____. ¿Scottish Gaelic Witch-Stories: A Provisional Type List¿. Scottish Studies 11: 13-47.

_____ ¿Legends Long Since Localised or Tales Still Travelling?¿ Scottish Studies 24: 43-62.

_____ ¿Logaidh Longsach¿. Scottish Studies 12: 190-92.

_____ ¿Recitation or Re-creation? Examples from South Uist Storytelling¿. Scottish Studies 22: 27-44.

_____ and Donald Archie MacDonald. Scottish Traditional Tales. Edinburgh: Polygon, 1994

Campbell, John Francis (of Islay). Popular Tales of the West Highlands. 4 vols. 1860-62. Reprint. Birlinn 1994.

Campbell, John Gregorson. Superstitions of the Scottish Highlands. Glasgow: Maclehose, 1900.

_____ Witchcraft and Second Sight in the Scottish Highlands. Glasgow: 1902.

Christiansen, R.T. The Migratory Legends. Helsinki: FFC 175 (1958).

Delargy, James. ¿The Gaelic Storyteller.¿ Proceedings of the British Academy 31 (1945): 178-221.

Vaz da Silva, Francisco 2010. 'The Invention of fairy tales', The Journal of American Folklore, 123: 398-425.

da Silva, Sara Graça, and Jamshid J. Tehrani. ¿Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktales.¿ Royal Society Open Science 3.1 (2016): 150645.

Douglas, Sheila. ¿A Scots Folk Version of "The Voyage of Mael Duin¿¿'. Scottish Studies 24: 89-105.

Draak, Martje. ¿Duncan MacDonald of South Uist¿. Fabula 1: 47-58. Holbek, Bengt. Interpretation of Fairy Tales. FFC 239. Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 1987.

Lamb, W. (2012) ¿The storyteller, the scribe and a missing man: Hidden influences from printed sources in the Gaelic tales of Duncan and Neil MacDonald¿, Oral Tradition, 27/1: 109-160.

_____. (2013). ¿Recitation or re-creation? A reconsideration: Verbal consistency in the Gaelic storytelling of Duncan MacDonald¿, in K Campbell, W Lamb, N Martin & G West (eds), ¿A Guid Hairst¿: Collecting and Archiving Scottish Tradition: Essays in Honour of Dr Margaret Mackay. Shaker Publishing: 171-184.

_____. (2015) ¿Verbal formulas in Gaelic traditional narrative: Some aspects of their form and function¿ in Agha, A. and Frog (eds.) Registers of Communication, Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society (SKS), 225-246.

MacDonald, Donald Archie. ¿A Visual Memory¿. Scottish Studies 22 (1978)

_____. ¿Some Aspects of a Visual and Verbal Memory in Gaelic Storytelling¿. ARV 37 (1981): 117-24.

_____ . ¿Migratory Legends of the Supernatural in Scotland: A General Survey¿. Béaloideas 62-63: 29-78.

MacDougall, James. Highland Fairy Legends. Ed. By A. Bruford. Ipswich: Brewer, 1978.

Maclean, Calum. The Highlands. 1959. Reprint. Inverness: Club Leabhar 1975 _____. ¿Hebridean Storytellers¿. ARV 8: 120-29.

MacLellan, Angus. Stories from South Uist. Translated by John Lome Campbell. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1961.

______________. The Furrow Behind Me. Translated by John Lorne Campbell. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1962. Gaelic version: Saoghal an Treobhaiche. Edited by John Lorne Campbell. Inverness: Club Leabhar 1972).

MacNeil, Joe Neil. Sgeul gu Latha/Tales Until Dawn. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1987.

O¿ Connor, Ralph (ed.) 2014. Classical Literature and Learning in Medieval Irish Narrative, Boydell.

Scottish Studies. Edinburgh 1957-

Shaw, John. The Blue Mountains and Other Gaelic Stories from Cape Breton/Na Beanntaichean Gorma. Agus Sgeulachdan Eile à Ceap Breatainn. Montreal: McGill-Queen¿s University Press 2007.

Tocher. Edinburgh 1971-

Thompson, Stith. The Folktale. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1946.

Zimmer, Heinrich. The King and the Corpse. Princeton: Princeton University Press 1971.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsHistoric-Geographic method,phylogenetic analysis,traditional narrative,folktales,fairytales
Course organiserProf William Lamb
Tel: (0131 6)50 3624
Course secretaryMrs Vivien MacNish Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3528
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