AN ORAL HISTORY OF SELECTED TWENTIETH-CENTURY TEACHERS OF ORAL INTERPRETATION OF LITERATURE.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe oral transmission of history dates back to the Greeks as does the history of the subject of oral interpretation of literature. In the twentieth century the deliberate collection of oral histories has become popular as an adjunct to written documents. With the assumption that oral history can add to written documents in any field, this dissertation tests the tool of oral history as a means of contributing to the history of the field of oral interpretation of literature. The research consists of four formally collected oral histories with prominent, retired, and long-time teachers of oral interpretation of literature in universities. Interviewed were Dr. Alethea Mattingly, professor of speech on the faculty of the University of Arizona until 1974; Dr. Isabel Crouch, Professor at New Mexico State University until 1986; Dr. Charlotte Lee, Professor at Northwestern University until 1974; Dr. Wallace A. Bacon, Professor and head of the department of interpretation at Northwestern University until 1979. The review of literature was drawn from the history of oral interpretation of literature, the history of the use of oral history, and the current material on oral history methodology as well as discussion on the uses and products of oral history work in other fields. A description of the arrangements made for and used in the actual interviews is included with observations on the transcription and the transactional nature of the interviews. An evaluation of the range and kinds of information derived from examination of these collected oral history transcripts is made in the final chapter for findings and conclusions. Information of corroboration and new information from the interviews did add to written histories in oral interpretation. Conclusions point to facts and ideas a historian might find of use, particularly future biographical studies. Suggestion is made that students with interviewing skills be encouraged to continue collection of oral histories to add to the storehouse of data for primary resource material. Oral history also proves to be a fine source for the rich portrayal of a human personality. As well as collecting data, oral history proves to be a unique and irreplaceable document.