The Voice of the Past : Oral History (Opus Books) by Paul Thompson

By Paul Thompson

Now in a brand new variation, this influential booklet strains oral historical past via its personal prior and weighs up the hot achievements of this overseas flow. Paul Thompson demanding situations myths of historic scholarship and appears heavily on the use of oral resources by means of historians. He bargains suggestion on designing a undertaking; discusses reliability of oral proof; considers the context of the improvement of old writing together with its social functionality; and appears at reminiscence, the self and using drama and treatment. This new version has been considerably revised and up-to-date and comprises an elevated dialogue of narrative ways and appears at new expertise utilized in the recording of knowledge.

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By the time he got down to that level of the family, the griot had talked for probably ®ve hours. He had stopped maybe ®fty times in the course of that narrative . . And then a translation came as all the others had come, calmly, and it began, `About the time the king's soldiers came'. That was one of those time-®xing references. Later in England, in Historians and Oral History 29 British Parliamentary records, I went feverishly searching to ®nd out what he was talking about, because I had to have the calendar date.

In this children have gathered material from their own families and then worked together in producing a joint performance of impressively high quality. There are no doubt special dif®culties in theatre and ®lm because of the technical requirements and costs of the medium and its domination by an international professionalism. A similar problem applies in national broadcasting. Nevertheless, a choice, often dif®cult, has to be made in most other types of project, especially in education. For the co-operative nature of the oral history approach has led to a radical questioning of the fundamental relationship between history and the community.

His comments show both emotional sympathy and a willingness to listen to their views. Indeed, his changing standpoint shows that he was genuinely prepared to be in¯uenced by them. No doubt this attitude helped him to be accepted into working-class family homes and receive their life-stories and feelings. And, signi®cantly, it was linked to an unusual concern with their exact words. He normally went to interviews accompanied by a stenographer, so that everything said could be directly recorded in shorthand.

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