A Storyteller’s Autobiographical Analysis of Himself

Gábor Biczó


Lajos Ámi (1886–1963) was one of the most talented Gipsy storytellers in Hungary whose repertoire includes more than 250 tales. In his stories, Ámi applied a lot of autobiographical elements (also in fairy tales) and so the question arises, what does the term autobiographical mean in the context of folk tales? The question is unfolded in relation to both the role of the storyteller him/herself and to storytellers operating as public intellectuals in their local communities. The distinction, and also the relationship between these roles, are significant and have implications to what is revealed autobiographically, on what grounds and in what way. This article outlines the analysis of autobiographical motifs and their roles in Ámi’s interpretation and presentation of himself in his storytelling.


folk tale; storytelling; autobiography; Gipsy folklore

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ISSN (print) 1736-6518. ISSN (online) 2228-0987. JEF is a joint publication of the University of Tartu, the Estonian National Museum and the Estonian Literary Museum.