‘We are stories.’ It’s a notion so simple even a child could understand it. Would that it ended there. But we are stories within stories. Stories within stories within stories. We recede endlessly, framed and reframed, until we are unreadable to ourselves.
Ivan Vladislavic, 101 Detectives: Stories, Cape Town: Umuzi, 2015, p. 147
Illustration inspired by a traditional drawing from Rwanda
The intellectual nature of a story is exhausted with its text, but the functional, cultural, and pragmatic aspect of any native tale is manifested as much in its enactment, embodiment, and contextual relations as in the text. It is easier to write down the story than to observe the diffuse, complex ways in which it enters into life, or to study its function by the observation of the bast social and cultural realities into which it enters. And this is the reason why we have so many text and why we known so little about the very nature of myth.
B. Malinowski, “Myth in Primitive Psychology”, in Bronislaw Malinowski, Malinowski and the Work of Myth, edited by Ivan Strenski, Princeton: Princeton University Press, p. 89.
Illustration inspired on engravings from a cave in the island of Götland.