frame story

frame story

▪ literary genre
also called  frame tale 

      overall unifying story within which one or more tales are related. In the single story, the opening and closing constitutes a frame. In the cyclical frame story—that is, a story in which several tales are related—some frames are externally imposed and only loosely bind the diversified stories. For example, the Jātaka, a treasury of some 550 ancient Indian folktales, is cast within a framework of Buddhist ethical teaching. The Thousand and One Nights (Thousand and One Nights, The), in which Scheherazade avoids death by telling her king-husband a story every night and leaving it incomplete, is another example of a frame story.

      Other frames are an integral part of the tales. Boccaccio's Decameron, for example, presents a frame story centred on 10 people fleeing the Black Death who gather in the countryside and as an amusement relate 10 stories each; the stories are woven together by a common theme, the way of life of the refined bourgeoisie, who combined respect for conventions with an open-minded attitude to personal behaviour. In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1387–1400), too, the pilgrimage frame brings together the varied tellers of the tales, who emerge as vivid personalities and develop dramatic relationships among themselves and with their tales.

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Universalium. 2010.

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