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In one sense a folklorist's portrayal of a notable folk artist's life and art, Listening for a Life is equally a rethinking of the processes involved in such work, not only in how the folklorist conveys her subject but in how her subject constitutes and performs herself into being through dialogue with others: those present, those once present, those imagined and anticipated.
Drawing on Bahktinian and feminist theory, Sawin pushes forward our understanding of the interactive roles of ethnographer and subject and in the process gives us a deeper understanding of folk singer and storyteller Bessie Eldreth and her greatest art, herself.
|1||Introduction: Dialogism and Subjectivity||1|
|2||"That was before I ever left home": Complex Accounts of a Simple Childhood||28|
|3||"If you had to work as hard as I did, it would kill you": Work, Narrative, and Self-Definition||49|
|4||"I said, 'Don't you do it'": Tracing Development as an Empowered Speaker through Reported Speech in Narrative||68|
|5||"He never did say anything about my dreams that would worry me after that": Negotiating Gender and Power in Ghost Stories||98|
|6||"I'm a bad one to go pulling jokes on people": Practical Joking as a Problematic Vehicle for Oppositional Self-Definition||135|
|7||"My singing is my life": Repertoire and Performance||156|