The Arresting Strangeness of Wormwood: Or, The Territory of Story
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Starting with a peculiar and rather bleak folktale, Italo Calvino’s Wormwood, the author worked with a small group of young people through storytelling, poetry and puppetry to flesh out the characters’ motivations, and give the central character a right of reply to all who tormented her. The process became a joint investigation of the uses of epic narrative, demonstrating that a faraway story can provide territory for a meeting of very diverse personal perspectives. The very sparseness of most folktales, lacking any explanation of why characters act as they do, allows scope for participants to use them to tell their own stories, or to clarify their beliefs and values. A practical exercise provides the reader with the chance to explore their own creativity in the ‘gaps’ of a story.
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