ISSN: 20428022
First published in 2011
2 issues per volume
Volume 7 Issue 2
Cover Date: November 2017
The discovery of storytelling and the part of overlooked poets, players and librarians in its epiphany
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Authors:  Patrick Ryan 
DOI: 10.1386/btwo.7.2.145_1

Walter de La Mare,librarianship,John Masefield,oral tradition,poetry,performance,storytelling,verse speaking

John Masefield, sixteenth Poet Laureate of England, considered himself first and foremost a storyteller. Taking him at his word, this article focuses on what Masefield wrote and said about storytelling, and his path to discovering himself as a storyteller. A review of his publications and private papers reveals that Masefield was part of a significant but largely forgotten or now ignored storytelling movement in Britain during the early through mid twentieth century. Masefield, and through him this ‘lost’ storytelling, was much influenced by the Irish Literary Movement, the work of librarian-storytellers, experimental verse theatre and what we would now view as performance poetry. Looking at how Masefield perceived and practised storytelling suggests how knowledge of earlier storytelling movements could refocus debates regarding storytelling now, or, more productively, open new lines of enquiry and experimentation in storytelling in coming years.
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