Lee Haring


What is the device of framing, in narratives, but a formal stylization of people’s annoying habit of interrupting their discourses and switching messages? The device, for which the Thousand and One Nights is famous, is used by narrative artists everywhere, though most favored in stratified societies. Modes of criticism and commentary also function as frames, for interpretive purposes. The varieties of framing—frame stories, opening and closing formulas, the “runs” of Irish storytellers, interruptions by the performer, channelswitching— call for various modes of criticism. Examples come from Madagascar, Mauritius, the Comoros, Seychelles, and Réunion.