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Memory in Oral Traditions
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Table of Contents

1: Introduction 2: The Representation of Themes in Memory 3: Imagery 4: Sound 5: Combining Constraints 6: The Transmission of Oral Traditions 7: Basic Observations on Remembering 8: A Theory of Remembering for Oral Traditions 9: Epic and Formulaic Theory 10: Counting-out Rhymes 11: North Carolina Ballads 12: Discussion

Reviews

"Rubin writes clearly and has organized a mass of material, presenting it both minutely and conceptually. Cognitive psychologists and those who work in relevant specialized areas will find the book of interest..." -- A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health "This is a challenging, interdisciplinary book that promises to have a ripple effect far beyond its home discipline of cognitive psychology....It has enormous implications for the more than one hundred oral traditions that have received specialist treatment over the past few decades, as well as for literary studies, folklore, and anthropology more generally. Dr. Rubin has brought cognitive psychology into a wholly unprecedented dialogue with studies in oral tradition. The result is a truly new perspective on memory and the processes of oral tradition that reinterprets the work of Milman Perry, Albert Lord, and others in an extremely productive way. Not only does Rubin make the psychological view understandable for the layperson, but he manages to reprise the Parry-Lord research in just as clear and up-to-date a manner." --John Miles Foley, William H. Byler Distinguished Professor of English and Classical Studies, University of Missouri "This is a great book. Not just 'important' or 'fascinating' but great; a very Parthenon of a book."--Roger Brown, John Lindsley Professor of Psychology in Memory of William James, Harvard University "Filled with fascinating and important insights about how memory really works in the field....This work dramatically enhanced my understanding of 'knowledge in the world'." --Donald A. Norman, Apple Computer, Inc., and University of California, San Diego (Emeritus) "The beauty of interdisciplinary scholarship is the possibility of novel contributions that enrich both fields. Rubin's merger of cognitive psychology and oral history clarifies and advances knowledge in both areas. . .stands on its own while inviting continued examination of other oral transmissions such as humor and urban legends." --Choice "This book is a landmark contribution for both scientists and scholars. Rubin has effectively integrated methods and insights from cognitive psychology, discourse processing, neuroscience, folklore, the classics, linguistics, and rhetoric. For those in the field of discourse processing, no other book has a more comprehensive coverage of the research on the representation and memory of oral discourse. For those in the humanities, it serves as an illuminating guide on how to apply informative quantitative analyses to discourse excerpts, including those that evolve over hundreds of years. For those in the rigorous scientific circles of memory research, it is a creative, colorful departure from some of the tedious memory paradigms that have flooded our journals and laboratories during the last four decades. This book will capture the imaginations of the new students of memory."--Arthur C. Graesser in Contemporary Psychology "David Rubin's book. . .provides an outstanding example of how more than a decade of memory studies, both inside and outside the laboratory, can be used to enrich our understanding of "ordinary" feats of memory. . . . Rubin is able to present a unique and useful perspective on basic processes that contribute to the power of human memory. In sum, this book is a capstone work that constitutes a successful attempt to link two previously unconnected areas of research: cognitive psychology and oral traditions." --American Journal of Psychology "Memory in Oral Traditions is an original tour de force....Rubin is able to present us with fascinating, new perspectives on classical subjects as well as the inner workings of human memory." --The General Psychologist "Rubin writes clearly and has organized a mass of material, presenting it both minutely and conceptually. Cognitive psychologists and those who work in relevant specialized areas will find the book of interest..."--Readings "This is a challenging, interdisciplinary book that promises to have a ripple effect far beyond its home discipline of cognitive psychology....It has enormous implications for the more than one hundred oral traditions that have received specialist treatment over the past few decades, as well as for literary studies, folklore, and anthropology more generally. Dr. Rubin has brought cognitive psychology into a wholly unprecedented dialogue with studies in oral tradition. The result is a truly new perspective on memory and the processes of oral tradition that reinterprets the work of Milman Perry, Albert Lord, and others in an extremely productive way. Not only does Rubin make the psychological view understandable for the layperson, but he manages to reprise the Parry-Lord research in just as clear and up-to-date a manner." --John Miles Foley, William H. Byler Distinguished Professor of English and Classical Studies, University of Missouri "This is a great book. Not just 'important' or 'fascinating' but great; a very Parthenon of a book."--Roger Brown, John Lindsley Professor of Psychology in Memory of William James, Harvard University "Filled with fascinating and important insights about how memory really works in the field....This work dramatically enhanced my understanding of 'knowledge in the world'." --Donald A. Norman, Apple Computer, Inc., and University of California, San Diego (Emeritus) "The beauty of interdisciplinary scholarship is the possibility of novel contributions that enrich both fields. Rubin's merger of cognitive psychology and oral history clarifies and advances knowledge in both areas. . .stands on its own while inviting continued examination of other oral transmissions such as humor and urban legends." --Choice "This is an impressive and unique book. It is an intensive study of oral memory traditions by a cognitive psychologist. There is nothing like it in print and it is unlikely that it will be superseded in the foreseeable future. . . . First, for psychologists, it is a review of the literature from the humanities on the history and structure of oral traditions. Second, for humanists, it is a review of the literature from cognitive psychology on memory and text representation. Third, it is a research monograph reporting a series of studies on memory for oral texts. . . . Psychologists teaching an undergraduate course on memory will find that the literature on oral traditions in this book can provide much interesting lecture material. . . . One hopes that the success of this interdisciplinary and ecological study will mean that the next generation of experimental psychologists will feel freer to adopt this approach to the study of human memory."--William F. Brewer in Contemporary Psychology "Rubin writes clearly and has organized a mass of material, presenting it both minutely and conceptually. Cognitive psychologists and those who work in relevant specialized areas will find the book of interest..." -- A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health "Rubin's Memory in Oral Traditions is a landmark book, summing up and refining a whole tradition of empirical work on memory in cognitive psychology, and presenting to literary scholars one of the most compelling cases to date for the relevance of cognitive neuroscience to the study of poetic and narrative forms. . . . There is much in this book to stimulate and challenge literary scholars: its cognitive and evolutionary models of narrative and poetic forms and conventions, its engagement with neuroanatomy and physiology, its potentially revolutionary understanding of oral poetry in terms of an embodied brain-mind in a physical as well as social environment. As a carefully researched, deftly argued, and nonreductive example of how cognitive psychology can contribute to literary understanding, Memory in Oral Traditions demonstrates how much can be gained by bringing literary studies in touch with developments in the cognitive neurosciences."--Southern Humanities Review

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