Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Memory Palace - history narration

History is not only about facts, it is also about narrative. And so, history podcasts, no matter how many facts they need to relate to, they must forge them into a narrative. Narration, in turn, is an art. There are narration podcasts such as the fictional podcasts Namaste Stories, 7th Son and New World Orders, or like podcasts that retell existing tales such as the Celtic Myth Podshow and Forgotten Classics and there are narration podcasts that apply narration in a particularly artistic way to history. One such podcast is the podfaded Your History Pocast and another one I just discovered: The Memory Palace (feed).

Host Nate DiMeo has a wonderful voice and style for this purpose. Soft, warm and slightly flat, that gives for a humane and modest atmosphere which allows for the history to get the greatest impact. You know the story that is being told is history, is true and so the mode of telling needs no added emphasis or dramatization to let the story's effect come through. DiMeo seems to understand this very well and the result is fantastic.

These episodes come out rather irregularly; one or two per month. They are very short, less than five minutes each. As off episode #7, a series has started about bad jobs. DiMeo describes the life of a nine year old that works in a mine in Pennsylvania in the nineteenth century as the first bad job. He makes a request to his listeners for more examples. This is an excellent podcast and I am eager to find out what comes next.

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