Quotation by John Barth

Printed prose is historically a most peculiar, almost an aberrant way of telling stories, and by far the most inherently anesthetic: It is the only medium of art I can think of which appeals directly to none of our five senses. The oral and folk tradition in narrative made use of verse or live-voice dynamics, embellished by gesture and expression—a kind of rudimentary theater—as do the best raconteurs of all times. Commonly there was musical accompaniment as well: a kind of one-man theater-of-mixed-means.
John Barth (b. 1930), U.S. novelist, educator. "The Role of the Prosaic in Fiction," The Friday Book: Essays and Other Nonfiction, Putnam (1984).
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