At the 20th anniversary of its publication in book form, Verbal Art as Performance merits reconsideration for its contribution to folklore studies and other scholarly fields. While many contemporary folklorists may clearly remember the intellectual and social milieu surrounding the production and reception of Verbal Art, the passage of time since then invites an examination of the diffusion of the text across scholarly disciplines and allows for the book to be assessed in terms of its impact on folklore studies. This article includes a citation study of journal references to the text and a rhetorical analysis of references in articles published by folklore journals. This study indicates that Verbal Art has played a central role in synthesizing earlier research on performance-centered theories in folklore; the book continues to disseminate these ideas to scholars in a variety of academic fields. The aspects of Verbal Art that threaten to undermine its connections with the field of folklore studies, including the widespread interest in performance concepts and the intentional reach to an interdisciplinary audience, can also serve to invigorate the field and promote its interests to a significant number of scholars in other areas.


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pp. 5-27
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