Augustine Martin takes a look at the origins of storytelling in English literature.

'Telefis Scoile' examines the subject of fiction in the first in a series of fifteen programmes on English literature.

Fiction will be described in terms of the novel and the short story, with reference to previous narrative forms of literature, oral and written, prose and verse.

RTÉ Guide, 20 September 1968

This excerpt from the programme includes a reading from Homer's epic 'The Odyssey', which is claimed by many to be the very first novel. Augustine Martin explains how 'The Odyssey' has very much in common with many subsequent novels such as Robinson Crusoe which has a lone adventurer, a sea journey, a journey into distant places, and a battle of the human being against the elements. He analogies with other novels on the Intermediate course such as Huckleberry Finn who battles his way up the Mississippi. 

While there are similarities, there are also important differences. 'The Odyssey' was written in verse for an aristocratic society and the common man was not represented at all in such heroic tales of the ancient world.

Fiction, whether it be a novel or a story, always reflected in some way the values of society.

This episode of 'Telefís Scoile' was broadcast on 23 September 1968. The presenter is Augustine Martin.

'Telefís Scoile' was an educational television programme that gave school lessons in maths, science and literature. It was first broadcast on 4 February 1964 and continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s.