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I was skeptical about this because of some of the negative reviews - people saying everything from there were "too many stories" to "I received no insight..." Upon listening to this and studying this course intensively i am utterly baffled. This course is AMAZING.
First of all - The audio course provides a great balance between telling stories and then analyzing the stories that have been told. The pdf it comes with is filled with a lifetime of practice and insight that will forever deepen my storytelling.
Her own stories are short and sweet and they're very touching. She also offers a few stories from other storytellers as well which are also short and very well done. The critique of there being too many stories strikes me as utter nonsense. Plus it's a storytelling course! You have to hear stories to learn what she is teaching!
Second - I find it incomprehensible how people could have listened to hours of this without receiving insight. She offers invaluable insights even in the first lecture about the nature of orality, remembering family histories, and gives a broad overview of the whole course. Over the course, she goes over so many incredible things such as how to rehearse, practice, memorize, embody, play with the time and perspective and the voice of the story and so much more (structure, hero's journey, empathy, emotional arcs, etc.).
The amount of storytelling technique given in this course is comprehensive and amazing. My own storytelling skill skyrocketed and I found myself exploring wholly new dimensions of storytelling I never thought about before. Also, she is absolutely brilliant, not just as a storyteller, but also as a scholar weaving political, cultural, and ethical dimensions to the art of storytelling.
How anyone could "not receive insight" from this is absolutely beyond me.
Third -I am guessing that some folks must just not appreciate or understand Appalachia style storytelling. I'm from NY, and didn't grow up where Hannah did, but I have heard many storytellers from Appalachia who have the same vocal style that Hannah does. If you don't like it, that's fine, but the degree to which people complain about it seems irrationally large given how much great content there is in the course. Also, she is insistent on helping you find your own voice and your own style, so why be distracted with hers?
To put it all together, this course was exactly what I was looking for and deeply broadened my awareness of and expanded my appreciation of the oral medium of storytelling. We should be grateful for such an amazing work.
104 of 106 people found this review helpful
'The Art of Storytelling' by Prof. Hannah B. Harvey is probably one of the best courses in 'The Great Courses' series. Not only does it deals with something no human being can get away from - the telling of stories - Harvey's presentation is absolutely exquisite, she has a way to draw you in.
So why don't I give it five stars throughout. Because you loose out tremendously by buying the audio only version. While listening to Prof. Harvey gives you the basics, there are so much more that is just not accessible when listening to the audio version of the course. I would have loved to not only hear, but also to see the storytellers, including herself perform by telling a story. You only hear the example 'stories' while it is used to help you with gestures, movement etc. She also gives valuable exercises on body posture and warming up your body and vocal chords before an performance. In the audio version you miss out on a lot of these.
That said, being a minister of religion that often preaches to various audiences, I was able to incorporate some of her ideas in one of my recent sermons. I was astounded with the reaction.
Prof. Harvey covers al the components of a good story, how to write or think up or identify a story as well as how to present or perform it. It is absolutely worthwhile and the self-help exercises (cross-training) she gives helps a lot.
Unfortunately you will want to have more. I found that the audio version of this lecture left me with a feeling of being cheated out of the most important part of storytelling - body language... maybe it is better to wait for a Great Courses 70% off sale, pay a little more (or a lot) and watch the video version. If you don't have that kind of money, the audio might just help you getting started.
60 of 66 people found this review helpful
What would have made The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals better?
I really wanted to get in to this course, but I can't get over the poor storytelling skills of the tutor. Although she knows what it technically means to be a good storyteller, her application of those things she tries to teach and her cringe-worthy, nerve-jarring use of accents and dialects (most notable is her attempt at a Scottish accent, something she claims to have had coaching on. I don't know by who, but I don't believe they were Scottish) makes me completely lose trust in what she has to teach. One of the most annoying things about the whole audio book is when she exhales in a short blast through her nose at something she finds humorous - which generally isn't humorous at all, it's almost a confidence issue and does it through nerves (much like somebody might say 'urr' and 'umm' a lot when they are nervous). She does this a lot.
It very much feels like the subheading should have the "to Professionals" part taken out, as it does not feel like her performance style should be aimed at anyone older than early teens.
If she taught the essentials with a better storyteller performing the actual story parts, it would be a much better listen.
Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?
I certainly would, as they have some great courses in their catalogue.
Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Hannah B. Harvey’s performances?
Based on my experience with this book I very much doubt that I would.
You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?
There will probably be plenty of listeners who have learnt something from this book, unfortunately if I can bare to finish the last 1/5 of it I am not likely to be one of them.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I found this book useful, with some really good insights. However I did find it a bit tedious at times. It could be a cultural difference between British and American Styles of story telling / listening. A preview of the points she is making would have been useful as it is not always apparent.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Where does The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
As a film maker, this book was good to further my knowledge in story telling. This was a good book. Downside is that there are some interesting grunts, sniffs etc while reading, which can get annoying, but I don't think it takes away from what the book aims to do.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals?
The most memorable moments were the story about her grandpa's hands. Such a simple story but a big lesson to be learned with how detailed or not detailed you need to be to focus on the story you are trying to tell.
Have you listened to any of Professor Hannah B. Harvey’s other performances? How does this one compare?
I have not listened to any of the other performances.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
This book really did bring some emotions out when some of the stories were told. The way the stories were told really made you feel like you are there. That's where I want to be with my story telling, so it was good to be in that space.