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Storytelling is Us

20 August 2012

From book designer Joel Friedlander:


Author Henning Mankell, writing in the New York Times last year related how he came to live much of the time in Mozambique. Listening to old men sitting on a bench talk, he speculates:

It struck me as I listened to those two men that a truer nomination (name) for our species than Homo sapiens might be Homo narrans, the storytelling person. What differentiates us from animals is the fact that we can listen to other people’s dreams, fears, joys, sorrows, desires and defeats–and they in turn can listen to ours.

Now, Homo spaiens means loosely “knowing person.” Homo narrans would be “storytelling person.”

. . . .

No matter what realm we operate within, no matter what discipline we’ve learned or invented, storytelling has a central place.

For instance, it’s how we transmit the news of our discoveries, how we describe who we are and where we want to go, how we account for what we’ve become. In each case a personal narrative in involved. A collection of stories that taken together create a personal history all our own.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

Joel Friedlander, Writing Advice