In a primarily oral culture, there is no way to record and recall a speech or oral performance. As Ong, Heim, and others have detailed, this is the reasoning for the structured, rhythmic nature of the oral epic. It was just not possible for the human mind to organize and remember a detailed, complex story without some form of mnemonic method applied.
The only way to reproduce a speech or orl performance would be to apprentice with the speaker, going off of his (rarely her) memory and rhythmic prompts to get the speech down and by repeating many times over the tale. However, beyond the use of writing to record these speeches, there came a point where writing was used as its own tool to produce creative works. Read the rest of this entry »