Words Of Re-Enchantment: Writing On Storytelling, Myth, And Ecological Desire By Anthony Nanson. Book review

WORDS OF RE-ENCHANTMENT: WRITING ON STORYTELLING, MYTH, AND ECOLOGICAL DESIRE By Anthony Nanson, Published by Awen Publications, Paperback £9.99

Reviewed by Adam J. Shardlow

With a title like that, it’s no surprise to discover that this is a non-fiction work. A collection of essays, articles, occasional pieces and academic papers that focus primarily on the art of live storytelling with a defined ecological bent. The work within seems to have been pulled together over a few years and as to be expected with this type of work, some pieces are better than others. Not necessarily better written, but simply easier for a lay person to connect with and understand the concepts and arguments being presented.

The collection is split into three distinct sections. The first, entitled ‘Myth,’ deals with the wider concepts of fables and their impact upon our consciousness with particular emphasis on the British tradition. Some of the articles work well, such as ‘The Metaphysics of Imaginary Worlds,’ which examines a number of classic mytho-fantastic lands such as Narnia and Middle-Earth, and ‘The Myth of King Arthur,’ which breaks down the many different retellings of the stories connected with this elusive ancient ruler. The second section, ‘Storytelling,’ aims to give a critical overview of modern storytelling techniques and presentation, which is only of interest to a reader already connected with that medium. The final section, ‘Ecobardic,’ is the largest and feels more like a manifesto than a series of well argued essays.

This book is obviously aimed at a semi-academic / professional market, and though of interest the articles are best read in small doses. Too many times similar themes are dwelled upon and scrutinised. Interesting, but not for the general reader.