Spinning Stories

Illegal Storytelling by ebutterworth
August 20, 2009, 1:21 pm
Filed under: Storytelling

Storytelling can be dangerous and subversive… A sixteenth-century French edict forbids workers in the textile industry (specifically, those manufacturing gold, silver and silk cloth for the royal household) to tell stories, recount adventures, or to chat in any way that would distract other workers from their tasks. Storytelling seems particularly to be feared after lunch.

 This is obviously an attempt to keep workers concentrated on their work, and not on the gossip of their friends and acquaintances. But I wonder whether there’s another danger here, of stories slipping into something more sinister and dangerous… the edict goes on to forbid blasphemy, swearing, slander and insults that might lead to quarrels and violence. Storytelling might not be so easy to keep within the bounds of decency and decorum…


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