Author: H. Geertz
In Storytelling in Bali, Hildred Geertz makes a case for the importance of the role of informal storytelling as an engine of social change in Bali in the 1930s. This is a study of more than 200 texts dictated by the painters of the village of Batuan in 1936 to the anthropologist Gregory Bateson. It is completed by three years field work in Batuan in the 1980s.

The tales reveal a set of strong ambivalences about the magical powers of kings, priests and sorcerers, and about social strains within villages and families. These narratives were related in the daily settings of home and coffee shop and also in the spectacular dance-dramas of the time.

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Hildred Geertz, Ph.D. (1956), Professor Emeritus, Princeton University, has published five books on Indonesian matters including Tales from a Charmed Life, an autobiography of Batuan painter, Ida Bagus Mad e Togog, and Images of Power, a study of the content of the Batuan paintings and texts collected by Gregory Bateson.
"L’étude que Hildred Geertz nous livre ici de la tradition orale à Batuan constitue un complément bienvenu à son travail précédemment publié sur ce village. Rigoureusement étayé et élégamment rédigé, appuyé sur une longue expérience de terrain, son dernier ouvrage fournit un accès inédit à l’univers mental traditionnel des Balinais." ~ Michel Picard, in Archipel 97 (2019), pp 299-301.
Chapter One: Storytelling in Pre-Modern Bali
Chapter Two: The World of the Storytellers
Chapter Three: The Circulation of Popular Tales
Chapter Four: Interpreting the Batuan Tales
Chapter Five: Storytelling as an Engine of Social Change


Appendix 1: The Batuan Painter/Storytellers
Appendix 2: The Batuan Texts in English, with Annotations and Illustrations
All interested in non-western art, in Indonesia and Bali - its history and ethnography, in storytelling practices, and in folktales.