June 6, 2008: Dede Korkut has some nice tricks - 0 Comments

The tenth-century Orghuz Turks have a nice version of "to make a long story short:"
"The horse's hoof is fleet as the wind; the minstrel's tongue is swift as a bird."

And Dede Korkut also has this nice trick. In the middle of the story, characters frequently break into verse - but just before the poetry starts, the narrative voice does this little move:
"He took the boy and went to the boy's father, to whom he declaimed; let us see, my Khan, what he declaimed. "

Isn't that nice? Let us see, my Khan. The poetry, so improbable in real life, was going to break the narrative flow anyway. And so DK does it for us, reflexively turning your attention to the notion of storytelling. The complimentary address to the reader as 'My Khan,' is good, too.

- Dede Korkut (attributed), The Book of Dede Korkut, trans. Geoffrey Lewis, circa 1000.


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