The most complete corpus of the proverbs and fables of Aesop ever assembled
Ben Edwin Perry's Aesopica remains the definitive edition of all fables reputed to be by Aesop. The volume begins traditionally with a life of Aesop, but in two different and previously unedited Greek versions, with collations that record variations in the major recensions. It includes 179 proverbs attributed to Aesop and 725 carefully organized fables, for which Perry also provides their eldest known sources. To better evaluate the place of Aesop in literary history, Perry includes testimonies about Aesop made by Greek and Latin authors, from Herodotus to Maximus Planudes.
Compiled by Harold Scheub University of Wisconsin Press, 2005 Library of Congress GR350.A366 2005 | Dewey Decimal 398.2096
The latest work from Harold Scheub, one of the world's leading scholars of African folktales, is the broadest collection yet assembled with tales from the entire continent of Africa, north to south. It brings together mythic, fantastic, and coming-of-age tales, some transcribed more than a hundred years ago, others dating to modern-day Africa. Scheub includes the work of storytellers from major African language groups, as well as many storytellers whose work is not often heard outside of Africa. This anthology offers a classroom-ready collection that should appeal to any scholar of African literature and culture. Realizing that these tales are part of a dying art, Scheub writes for the inner ear in everyone, bringing an oral tradition to life in written form.
Alas Poor Ghost
Gillian Bennett Utah State University Press, 1999 Library of Congress GR141.B55 1999 | Dewey Decimal 398.0941
In the rational modern world, belief in the supernatural seemingly has been consigned to the worlds of entertainment and fantasy. Yet belief in other worldly phenomena, from poltergeists to telepathy, remains strong, as Gillian Bennett's research shows. Especially common is belief in continuing contact with, or the continuing presence of, dead family members. Bennett interviewed women in Manchester, England, asking them questions about ghosts and other aspects of the supernatural. (Her discussion of how her research methods and interview techniques evolved is in itself valuable.) She first published the results of the study in the well-received Traditions of Belief: Women and the Supernatural, which has been widely used in folklore and women's studies courses. "Alas, Poor Ghost!" extensively revises and expands that work. In addition to a fuller presentation and analysis of the original field research and other added material, the author, assisted by Kate Bennett, a gerontological psychologist, presents and discusses new research with a group of women in Leicester, England.
Bennett is interested in more than measuring the extent of belief in other worldly manifestations. Her work explores the relationship between narrative and belief. She anticipated that her questions would elicit from her interviewees not just yes or no replies but stories about their experiences that confirmed or denied notions of the supernatural. The more controversial the subject matter, the more likely individuals were to tell stories, especially if their answers to questions of belief were positive. These were most commonly individualized narratives of personal experience, but they contained many of the traditional motifs and other content, including belief in the supernatural, of legends. Bennett calls them memorates and discusses the cultural processes, including ideas of what is a "proper" experience of the supernatural and a "proper" telling of the story, that make them communal as well as individual. These memorates provide direct and vivid examples of what the storytellers actually believe and disbelieve. In a final section, Bennett places her work in historical context through a discussion of case studies in the history of supernatural belief.
Mythologies offers illuminating examples of the workings of myth in the structure of societies past and present—how we create, use, and are guided by systems of myth to answer fundamental questions about ourselves and our world.
Almost all of Mythologies, originally published as a two-volume cloth set, is now available in four paperback volumes. These volumes reproduce the articles, introductory essays, and illustrations as they appeared in the full Mythologies set, and each includes a new Preface by Wendy Doniger.
This volume gathers eighty articles on mythologies from around the world. A section on the Americas and the South Pacific covers myths of native Americans, from the Inuit to the Mesoamericans, about such topics as the cosmos, fire, and the creation of the world. Essays on African mythology range from the 266 basic signs of West Africa to themes such as twins, the placenta, and masks. The final section, covering Celtic, Norse, and Slavic traditions opens with an overview of the Indo-Europeans and concludes with an essay on the religion and myths of Armenia.
Knowledge of folk custom and folk belief can help to explain ways of thought and behavior in modern America. American Folklife, a unique collection of essays dedicated to the presentation of American tradition, broadens our understanding of the regional differences and ethnic folkways that color American life. Folklife research examines the entire context of everyday life in past and present. It includes every aspect of traditional life, from regional architecture through the full range of material culture into spiritual culture, folk religion, Witchcraft, and other forms of folk belief. This collection is especially useful in its application to American society, where countless influences from European, American Indian, and African cultural backgrounds merge. American Folklife relates folklife research to history, anthropology, cultural geography, architectural history, ethnographic film, folk technology, folk belief, and ethnic tensions in American society. It documents the folk-cultural background that is the root of our society.
The boys and men who left their Greek valley and mountain villages in the early 1900s for America came with amulets their mothers had made for them. Some were miniature sacks attached to a necklace; more often they were merely a square of fabric enclosing the values of their lives: a piece of a holy book or a sliver of the True Cross representing their belief in Greek Orthodoxy; a thyme leaf denoting their wild terrain; a blue bead to ward off the Evil Eye; and a pinch of Greek earth.
In her evocative and meticulously researched book An Amulet of Greek Earth, author Helen Papanikolas explains and examines the vibrant culture these immigrants brought with them to the new world. The Romiosini culture, as it was called, provided the foundation for their new lives and was oftentimes the cause of strife as they passed on their beliefs and traditions to successive generations of Greek Americans.
In the tradition of her fictional accounts of Greek immigrant life, Helen Papanikolas unearths the cultural beliefs and passions that compelled the Greek-American community to make its own way into the broader culture of America. Based on extensive study, personal interviews, and a lifetime of experience, An Amulet of Greek Earth is a revealing and informative chronicle of the immigrant’s experience in becoming an American.
And Other Neighborly Names—the title is from a study by Americo Paredes of the names, complimentary and otherwise, exchanged across cultural boundaries by Anglos and Mexicans—is a collection of essays devoted to various aspects of folk tradition in Texas. The approach builds on the work of the folklorists who have helped give the study of folklore in Texas such high standing in the field-Mody Boatright, J. Frank Dobie, John Mason Brewer, the Lomaxes, and of course Paredes himself, to whom this book is dedicated. Focusing on the ways in which traditions arise and are maintained where diverse peoples come together, the editors and other essayists—John Holmes McDowell, Joe Graham, Alicia María González, Beverly J. Stoeltje, Archie Green, José E. Limón, Thomas A. Green, Rosan A. Jordan, Patrick B. Mullen, and Manuel H. Peña—examine conjunto music, the corrido, Gulf fishermen's stories, rodeo traditions, dog trading and dog-trading tales, Mexican bakers' lore, Austin's "cosmic cowboy" scene, and other fascinating aspects of folklore in Texas. Their emphasis is on the creative reaction to socially and culturally pluralistic situations, and in this they represent a distinctively Texan way of studying folklore, especially as illustrated in the performance-centered approach of Paredes, Boatright, and others at the University of Texas at Austin. As an overview of this approach—its past, present, and future—"And Other Neighborly Names" makes a valuable contribution both to Texas folklore and to the discipline as a whole.
After a career working and living with American Indians and studying their traditions, Barre Toelken has written this sweeping study of Native American folklore in the West. Within a framework of performance theory, cultural worldview, and collaborative research, he examines Native American visual arts, dance, oral tradition (story and song), humor, and patterns of thinking and discovery to demonstrate what can be gleaned from Indian traditions by Natives and non-Natives alike. In the process he considers popular distortions of Indian beliefs, demystifies many traditions by showing how they can be comprehended within their cultural contexts, considers why some aspects of Native American life are not meant to be understood by or shared with outsiders, and emphasizes how much can be learned through sensitivity to and awareness of cultural values.
Winner of the 2004 Chicago Folklore Prize, The Anguish of Snails is an essential work for the collection of any serious reader in folklore or Native American studies.
Archie Green: The Making of a Working-Class Hero celebrates one of the most revered folklorists and labor historians of the twentieth century. Devoted to understanding the diverse cultural customs of working people, Archie Green (1917–2009) tirelessly documented these traditions and educated the public about the place of workers' culture and music in American life. Doggedly lobbying Congress for support of the American Folklife Preservation Act of 1976, Green helped establish the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, a significant collection of images, recordings, and written accounts that preserve the myriad cultural productions of Americans.
Capturing the many dimensions of Green's remarkably influential life and work, Sean Burns draws on extensive interviews with Green and his many collaborators to examine the intersections of radicalism, folklore, labor history, and worker culture with Green's work. Burns closely analyzes Green's political genealogy and activist trajectory while illustrating how he worked to open up an independent political space on the American Left that was defined by an unwavering commitment to cultural pluralism.
Arkansas’s rich folk tradition is shown by the variety of its manifestations: a 250-year-old ballad, an archaic method of hewing railroad crossties with a broadax, the use of poultices and toddies to treat the common cold, and swamps of evil repute are all parts of the tradition that constitutes Arkansas folklore. In fact, as the essays selected by W.K. McNeil and William M. Clements show, these few examples only begin to tell the story.
Starting with a working description of folklore as “cultural material that is traditional and unofficial” and characterized by a pattern of oral transmission, variation, formulaic structures, and usually uncertain origin, the authors survey in detail a wide array of folk objects, activities, beliefs, and customs. Among the rich offerings in this sourcebook are a discussion of the history of folklore research in Arkansas, an examination of some of the traditional songs and music still being preformed, a thoughtful exploration of the serious side of “tall tales” and “windies,” an investigation of folk architecture in Arkansas and what it reveals about our cultural origins, a study of many traditional foods and there preparation methods, an analysis of superstitions and beliefs, and a description of festivals and celebrations that are observed to this day.
Complemented by biographies of reference works and audio and video recordings of the state’s folk materials, An Arkansas Folklore Sourcebook is the first complete guide to the study of one state’s “unofficial culture.”
For fifteen centuries, legends of King Arthur have enthralled us. Born in the misty past of a Britain under siege, half-remembered events became shrouded in ancient myth and folklore. The resulting tales were told and retold, until over time Arthur, Camelot, Avalon, the Round Table, the Holy Grail, Excalibur, Lancelot, and Guinevere all became instantly recognizable icons. Along the way, Arthur’s life and times were recast in the mold of the hero’s journey: Arthur’s miraculous conception at Tintagel through the magical intercession of his shaman guide, Merlin; the childhood deed of pulling the sword from the stone, through which Arthur was anointed King; the quest for the Holy Grail, the most sacred object in Christendom; the betrayal of Arthur by his wife and champion; and the apocalyptic battle between good and evil ending with Arthur’s journey to the Otherworld.
Touching on all of these classic aspects of the Arthur tale, Christopher R. Fee seeks to understand Arthur in terms of comparative mythology as he explores how the Once and Future King remains relevant in our contemporary world. From ancient legend to Monty Python, Arthur: God and Hero in Avalon discusses everything from the very earliest versions of the King Arthur myth to the most recent film and television adaptations, offering insight into why Arthur remains so popular—a hero whose story still speaks so eloquently to universal human needs and anxieties.
Arts in Earnest explores the unique folklife of North Carolina from ruddy ducks to pranks in the mill. Traversing from Murphy to Manteo, these fifteen essays demonstrate the importance of North Carolina’s continually changing folklife. From decoy carving along the coast, to the music of tobacco chants and the blues of the Piedmont, to the Jack tales of the mountains, Arts in Earnest reflects the story of a people negotiating their rapidly changing social and economic environment. Personal interviews are an important element in the book. Laura Lee, an elderly black woman from Chatham County, describes the quilts she made from funeral flower ribbons; witnesses and friends each remember varying details of the Duke University football player who single-handedly vanquished a gang of would-be muggers; Clyde Jones leads a safari through his backyard, which is filled with animals made of wood and cement that represent nontraditional folk art; the songs and sermon of a Primitive Baptist service flow together as one—“it tills you up all over”; Durham bluesman Willie Trice, one of a handful of Durham musicians who recorded in the 1930s and early 1940s, remembers when the active tobacco warehouses offered ready audiences—“They’d tip us a heap of change to play some music”; and Goldsboro tobacco auctioneer H. L. “Speed” Riggs chants 460 words per minute, five to six times faster than a normal conversational rate.
Edited by Yves Bonnefoy University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress BL1005.D5313 1993 | Dewey Decimal 291.13095
These 130 articles explore mythologies in societies from India to Japan. Among the many topics are Buddhist and Hindu symbolic systems, myth in pre-Islamic Iran, Indonesian rites of passage, Chinese cosmology and demons, and Japanese conceptions of the afterlife and the "vital spirit." The mythological traditions of Turkey, Korea, Tibet, and Mongolia are also included.
"The almost 100 contributors combine, with characteristic precision and élan, the arts of science and poetry, of analysis and translation. The result is a treasury of information, brilliant guesswork, witty asides, and revealing digressions. This is a work of genuine and enduring excitement."—Thomas D'Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor
Donna M. Lanclos writes about children on the school playgrounds of working-class Belfast, Northern Ireland, using their own words to show how they shape their social identities. The notion that children's voices and perspectives must be included in a work about childhood is central to the book. Lanclos explores children's folklore, including skipping rhymes, clapping games, and "dirty" jokes, from five Belfast primary schools (two Protestant, two Catholic, and one mixed). She listens for what she can learn about gender, family, adult-child interactions, and Protestant/Catholic tensions. Lanclos frequently notes violent themes in the folklore and conversations that indicate children are aware of the reality in which they live. But at the same time, children resist being marginalized by adults who try to shield them from this reality.
For Lanclos, children's experiences stimulate discussions about culture and society. In her words, "Children's everyday lives are more than just preparation for their futures, but are life itself."
At Play in Belfast is a volume in the Rutgers Series in Childhood Studies, edited by Myra Bluebond-Langner.