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Vladimir Propp and the Universal Folktale

Recommissioning an Old Paradigm - Story as Initiation


Peter Gilet

Dr. Peter Gilet takes Vladimir Propp's 31-part structure of the European folktale and suggests a reduction to five moves. This allows Propp's structure to be applied successfully to stories from Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas, thus providing a widespread tale type, perhaps the main tale type in oral literature. Dr. Gilet also suggests that this type has strong meaningful similarities with shamanic and puberty initiation rituals in pre-industrial societies. Just how meaningful will be the object of future research.