The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals : The Great Courses: Professional

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Hannah B. Harvey
  • Series: The Great Courses: Professional
  • 12 hrs and 29 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

An absolute treat for the heart and mind, these 24 lectures demonstrate how to master the art of storytelling, offering insight into the process of crafting and delivering a tale to enhancing the stories you tell everyday - to your children at bedtime, in your conversational anecdotes, and in your presentations at work. Teachers, lawyers, clergy, coaches, parents, and anyone who wants to understand the power of stories to capture hearts and minds will benefit from these lessons.
You'll discover practical methods for building dynamic tension and capturing - then maintaining - your audience's attention. You'll acquire tips and techniques for finding, selecting, and preparing stories, whether they're based on your own experiences, time-honored folk tales, or beloved family yarns. You'll also learn to choose expressive language, craft compelling characters, refine your narrator's point of view, shape your story's plot, structure, and emotional arc, use body language to connect with your audience, and more.
Part how-to workshop, part intellectual study of the history of narrative, these lectures feature exercises that literally get you moving to develop your stories and make them more enjoyable. Professor Harvey's interactive activities and "side coaching" sessions are designed to make you comfortable enough with your story to tell it naturally and make impromptu changes as needed. You'll even learn what to do if the unexpected occurs while telling a story to a roomful of kids or giving a presentation, and about the practical considerations of using props, PowerPoint, and microphones in various scenarios.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Ca'mon Bad Reviews! This course is amazing!

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.
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- Thomas Meli

Superb, insightful but limited by audio only

'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.
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- Jacobus

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses