Virgil University of Chicago Press, 2017 Library of Congress PA6807.A5F47 2017 | Dewey Decimal 873.01
“I sing of arms and the man . . . ”
So begins the Aeneid, greatest of Western epic poems. Virgil’s story of the journey of Aeneas has been a part of our cultural heritage for so many centuries that it’s all too easy to lose sight of the poem itself—of its brilliantly cinematic depiction of the sack of Troy; the monstrous hunger of the harpies; the intensity of Dido’s love for the hero, and the blackness of her despair; and the violence that Aeneas and his men must endure before they can settle in Italy and build the civilization whose roots we still claim as our own.
This new translation brings Virgil’s masterpiece newly to life for English-language readers. It’s the first in centuries crafted by a translator who is first and foremost a poet, and it is a glorious thing. David Ferry has long been known as perhaps our greatest contemporary translator of Latin poetry, his translations of Virgil’s Eclogues and Georgics having established themselves as much-admired standards. He brings to the Aeneid the same genius, rendering Virgil’s formal metrical lines into an English that is familiar and alive. Yet in doing so, he surrenders none of the feel of the ancient world that resonates throughout the poem, and gives it the power that has drawn readers to it for centuries. In Ferry’s hands, the Aeneid becomes once more a lively, dramatic poem of daring and adventure, of love and loss, of devotion and death. Never before have Virgil’s twin gifts of poetic language and urgent, compelling storytelling been presented so powerfully for English-language readers. Ferry’s Aeneid will be a landmark, a gift to longtime lovers of Virgil, and the perfect entry point for new readers.
“Aurora rose, spreading her pitying light,
And with it bringing back to sight the labors
Of sad mortality, what men have done,
And what has been done to them; and what they must do
The ships are ready to sail. The journey, from the fall of Troy to the birth of Rome, is about to begin. Join us.
The Aeneid of Virgil
Virgil University of Michigan Press, 1995 Library of Congress PA6807.A5M38 1995 | Dewey Decimal 873.01
Called "the best poem by the best poet," Virgil's Aeneid is perhaps the most famous work in Latin literature. It tells the story of Rome's founding by the Trojan prince Aeneas after many years of travel, and it contains many of the most famous stories about the Trojan War. It also reveals much of what the Romans felt and believed about themselves- the sensitive reader will see that these same values and issues often trouble us today.
In this new translation Edward McCrorie has performed the difficult task of rendering Virgil's compact, dense Latin into fine, readable, modern English verse. The sometimes complex text is made clear and comprehensible even for first-time readers, and a glossary of names helps identify characters and place-names in the poem. The translation is well suited for students at all levels, and readers already familiar with Virgil will find many fresh images and ideas.
"A brilliant effort."--Robert Bly
"I admire the ambition of the project, and the generosity of many of the lines."--Robert Fagles
Edward McCrorie is Professor of English, Providence College. His poetry and translations of Latin verse have been widely published.
Amid the religious tumult of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, English scholars, preachers, and dramatists examined, debated, and refashioned tales concerning Pope Joan, a ninth-century woman who, as legend has it, cross-dressed her way to the papacy only to have her imposture exposed when she gave birth during a solemn procession.
The legend concerning a popess had first taken written form in the thirteenth century and for several hundred years was more or less accepted. The Reformation, however, polarized discussions of the legend, pitting Catholics, who denied the story’s veracity, against Protestants, who suspected a cover-up and instantly cited Joan as evidence of papal depravity. In this heated environment, writers reimagined Joan variously as a sorceress, a hermaphrodite, and even a noteworthy author.
The Afterlife of Pope Joan examines sixteenth- and seventeenth-century debates concerning the popess’s existence, uncovering the disputants’ historiographic methods, rules of evidence, rhetorical devices, and assumptions concerning what is probable and possible for women and transvestites. Author Craig Rustici then investigates the cultural significance of a series of notions advanced in those debates: the claim that Queen Elizabeth I was a popess in her own right, the charge that Joan penned a book of sorcery, and the curious hypothesis that the popess was not a disguised woman at all but rather a man who experienced a sort of spontaneous sex change.
The Afterlife of Pope Joan draws upon the discourses of religion, politics, natural philosophy, and imaginative literature, demonstrating how the popess functioned as a powerful rhetorical instrument and revealing anxieties and ambivalences about gender roles that persist even today.
Craig M. Rustici is Associate Professor of English at Hofstra University.
Essays that explore the rich engagement of the Talmud with its cultural world
The Babylonian Talmud (Bavli), the great compilation of Jewish law edited in the late Sasanian era (sixth–seventh century CE), also incorporates a great deal of aggada, that is, nonlegal material, including interpretations of the Bible, stories, folk sayings, and prayers. The Talmud’s aggadic traditions often echo conversations with the surrounding cultures of the Persians, Eastern Christians, Manichaeans, Mandaeans, and the ancient Babylonians, and others. The essays in this volume analyze Bavli aggada to reveal this rich engagement of the Talmud with its cultural world.
A detailed analysis of the different conceptions of martyrdom in the Talmud as opposed to the Eastern Christian martyr accounts
Illustration of the complex ways rabbinic Judaism absorbed Christian and Zoroastrian theological ideas
Demonstration of the presence of Persian-Zoroastrian royal and mythological motifs in talmudic sources
Cain wanders the frontier as a Bigfoot-like hairy beast and confronts an early Mormon apostle. An evil band of murderers from Mormon scripture, known as the Gadianton robbers, provides an excuse for the failure of a desert town. Stories of children raised from the dead with decayed bodies and damaged minds help draw boundaries between the proper spheres of human and divine action. Mormons who observe UFOs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries find ways to explain them in relation to the church’s cosmology. The millenarian dimension of that belief system induces church members to invest in the Dream Mine, a hidden treasure that a would-be heir to Joseph Smith wraps in prophecy of the end times. A Utah version of Nessie haunts a large mountain lake. Non-Mormons attempt to discredit Joseph Smith with tales that he had tried and failed to walk on water.
Mormons gave distinctive meanings to supernatural legends and events, but their narratives incorporated motifs found in many cultures. Many such historical legends and beliefs found adherents down to the present. This collection employs folklore to illuminate the cultural and religious history of a people.
Coyote Steals Fire: A Shoshone Tale
Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation Utah State University Press, 2005 Library of Congress E99.S4C69 2005 | Dewey Decimal 398.24529772509
"Coyote was tired of being cold," begins this traditional Shoshone tale about the arrival of fire in the northern Wasatch region. Members of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation developed the concept for this retelling, in collaboration with book arts teacher, Tamara Zollinger. Together, they wrote and illustrated the book.
Bright watercolor-and-salt techniques provide a winning background to the hand-cut silhouettes of the characters. The lively, humorous story about Coyote and his friends is complemented perfectly by later pages written by Northwestern Shoshone elders on the historical background and cultural heritage of the Shoshone nation. An audio CD with the voice of Helen Timbimboo telling the story in Shoshone and singing two traditional songs makes this book not only good entertainment but an important historical document, too.
Sure to delight readers of all ages, Coyote Steals Fire will be a valuable addition to the family bookshelf, the elementary classroom, the school or public library.
This is the first major body of annotated texts in James Bay Cree, and a unique documentation of Swampy and Moose Cree (Western James Bay) usage of the 1950s and 1960s. Conversations and interviews with 16 different speakers include: legends, reminiscences, historical narratives, stories and conversations, as well as descriptions of technology. The book includes a detailed pronunciation guide, notes on Cree terms, informants' comments, dialect variations, and descriptions of cultural values and customs. The introduction describes and compares the various genres in traditional and popular culture. Cree and English, with full glosssary.
Lawrence Frost University of Wisconsin Press, 1981 Library of Congress E467.1.C99F74 | Dewey Decimal 973.820924
George Armstrong Custer rode at the head of his cavalry command where he made instantaneous decisions, most of which resulted in victory during the Civil War. The older officers over whom he had jumped in rank soon displayed their animosity. From them, and many others, a series of charges against him were circulated; from these grew the innumerable Custer legends. This volume includes many interesting and unusual Custer legends, which include the alleged fathering of Monahseetah’s Indian son; the Annie Jones story buried in the National Archives; Custer’s capture of Lee’s supply trains at Appomattox Court House that caused Lee to surrender—and much more.
Over the centuries, Jewish and Muslim writers transformed the biblical Queen of Sheba from a clever, politically astute sovereign to a demonic force threatening the boundaries of gender. In this book, Jacob Lassner shows how successive retellings of the biblical story reveal anxieties about gender and illuminate the processes of cultural transmission.
The Bible presents the Queen of Sheba's encounter with King Solomon as a diplomatic mission: the queen comes "to test him with hard questions," all of which he answers to her satisfaction; she then praises him and, after an exchange of gifts, returns to her own land. By the Middle Ages, Lassner demonstrates, the focus of the queen's visit had shifted from international to sexual politics. The queen was now portrayed as acting in open defiance of nature's equilibrium and God's design. In these retellings, the authors humbled the queen and thereby restored the world to its proper condition.
Lassner also examines the Islamization of Jewish themes, using the dramatic accounts of Solomon and his female antagonist as a test case of how Jewish lore penetrated the literary imagination of Muslims. Demonizing the Queen of Sheba thus addresses not only specialists in Jewish and Islamic studies, but also those concerned with issues of cultural transmission and the role of gender in history.
Disturbing the Peace
Bryan Wagner Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress E185.86.W334 2009 | Dewey Decimal 305.896073
W. C. Handy waking up to the blues on a train platform, Buddy Bolden eavesdropping on the drums at Congo Square, John Lomax taking his phonograph recorder into a southern penitentiary - in Disturbing the Peace, Bryan Wagner revises the history of the black vernacular tradition and gives a new account of black culture by reading these myths in the context of the tradition's ongoing engagement with the law.
El Q'anil: Man of Lightning
Victor Montejo University of Arizona Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS501.S85 vol. 46 | Dewey Decimal 810.8
The legend of El Q'anil, the "Man of Lightning," stands alongside such classic Maya literary artifacts as Popol Vuh and Chilam Balam but has been preserved only through the oral tradition of the Jakaltek Maya. In this tale, the young man Xhuwan Q'anil brings lightning to his people in order to save them from destruction. He undertakes a journey of adventure, participates in a great war, and is subsequently immortalized. It is a story that all Jakaltek children learn, one that reinforces their identity by showing that their people have a hero who lives in each Jakaltek Maya today. Víctor Montejo, who was raised in Maya culture and knows its lore intimately, compiled several versions of the legend in Guatemala during the height of paramilitary operations in that country in the 1980s. His contemporary reconstruction lovingly preserves this legend and reflects concern for the survival of Maya culture in the face of oppression. Just as the Maya people of western Guatemala continue to pray for peace at the sanctuary of Q'anil, the legend of the Man of Lightning affirms a culture's enduring traditions. In this edition, the text is presented in English, Spanish, and Jakaltek Maya to secure its deserved place in world literature.
From the dagger mistress Ezili Je Wouj and the gender-bending mermaid Lasiren to the beautiful femme queen Ezili Freda, the Ezili pantheon of Vodoun spirits represents the divine forces of love, sexuality, prosperity, pleasure, maternity, creativity, and fertility. And just as Ezili appears in different guises and characters, so too does Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley in her voice- and genre-shifting, exploratory book Ezili's Mirrors. Drawing on her background as a literary critic as well as her quest to learn the lessons of her spiritual ancestors, Tinsley theorizes black Atlantic sexuality by tracing how contemporary queer Caribbean and African American writers and performers evoke Ezili. Tinsley shows how Ezili is manifest in the work and personal lives of singers Whitney Houston and Azealia Banks, novelists Nalo Hopkinson and Ana Lara, performers MilDred Gerestant and Sharon Bridgforth, and filmmakers Anne Lescot and Laurence Magloire—none of whom identify as Vodou practitioners. In so doing, Tinsley offers a model of queer black feminist theory that creates new possibilities for decolonizing queer studies.
Back in Prohibition my uncle made moonshine. His name was Moses Kenny and his whiskey--they called it “White Mule” was the best in the county. Well, the feds got after him and finally they arrested him. Took him to a federal judge down in Philadelphia.
Now, the judge liked a good time and thought he’d have a little fun with this hick from the mountains. When Uncle came into court, he said, “are you the Moses who can make the sun dark?”
Moses looked at him and said slowly, “Nope, your honor. But I am the Moses who can make the moon shine.”
Folktales of India
Edited by Brenda E. F. Beck, Peter J. Claus, Praphulladatta Goswami, and Jawaharlal Handoo University of Chicago Press, 1987 Library of Congress GR305.F65 1987 | Dewey Decimal 398.20954
Bringing together nearly one hundred tales translated from fourteen languages, Folktales of India opens the vast narrative world of Indian folklore to readers of English. Beck includes oral tales collected from tribal areas, peasant groups, urban areas, and remote villages in north and south India, and the distinctive boundary regions of Kashmir, Assam, and Manipur. The tales in this collection emphasize universal human characteristics—truthfulness, modesty, loyalty, courage, generosity, and honesty. Each story is meant to be savored individually with special attention given to the great range of motifs presented and the many distinct narrative styles used. Folktales of India offers a superb anthology of India's bountiful narrative tradition.
"This collection does an excellent job of representing India. . . . It is the type of book that can be enjoyed by all readers who love a well-told tale as well as by scholars of traditional narrative and scholars of India in general."—Hugh M. Flick, Jr., Asian Folklore Studies
"The stories collected here are representative, rich in structural subtlety, and endowed with fresh earthy humor."—Kunal Chakraborti, Contributions to Indian Sociology
In this interdisciplinary cultural history that encompasses film, literature, music, and drama, Inez Hedges follows the thread of the Faustian rebel in the major intellectual currents of the last hundred years. She presents Faust and his counterpart Mephistopheles as antagonistic— yet complementary— figures whose productive conflict was integral to such phenomena as the birth of narrative cinema, the rise of modernist avant-gardes before World War II, and feminist critiques of Western cultural traditions.
Framing Faust: Twentieth-Century Cultural Struggles pursues a dialectical approach to cultural history. Using the probing lens of cultural studies, Hedges shows how claims to the Faustian legacy permeated the struggle against Nazism in the 1930s while infusing not only the search for socialist utopias in Russia, France, and Germany, but also the quest for legitimacy on both sides of the Cold War divide after 1945.
Hedges balances new perspectives on such well-known works as Thomas Mann’ s Dr. Faustus and Jack Kerouac’ s Dr. Sax with discussions of previously overlooked twentieth-century expressions of the Faust myth, including American film noir and the Faust films of Stan Brakhage. She evaluates musical compositions— Hanns Eisler’ s Faust libretto, the opera Votre Faust by Henri Pousseur and Michel Butor, and Alfred Schnittke’ s Faust Cantata— as well as works of fiction and drama in French and German, many of which have heretofore never been discussed outside narrow disciplinary confines.
Enhanced by twenty-four illustrations, Framing Faust provides a fascinating and focused narrative of some of the major cultural struggles of the past century as seen through the Faustian prism, and establishes Faust as an important present-day frame of reference.
The Japanese have ambivalent attitudes toward death, deeply rooted in pre-Buddhist traditions. In this scholarly but accessible work, authors Iwasaka and Toelken show that everyday beliefs and customs--particularly death traditions--offer special insight into the living culture of Japan.
Harriet Tubman is one of America’s most beloved historical figures, revered alongside luminaries including Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History tells the fascinating story of Tubman’s life as an American icon. The distinguished historian Milton C. Sernett compares the larger-than-life symbolic Tubman with the actual “historical” Tubman. He does so not to diminish Tubman’s achievements but rather to explore the interplay of history and myth in our national consciousness. Analyzing how the Tubman icon has changed over time, Sernett shows that the various constructions of the “Black Moses” reveal as much about their creators as they do about Tubman herself.
Three biographies of Harriet Tubman were published within months of each other in 2003–04; they were the first book-length studies of the “Queen of the Underground Railroad” to appear in almost sixty years. Sernett examines the accuracy and reception of these three books as well as two earlier biographies first published in 1869 and 1943. He finds that the three recent studies come closer to capturing the “real” Tubman than did the earlier two. Arguing that the mythical Tubman is most clearly enshrined in stories told to and written for children, Sernett scrutinizes visual and textual representations of “Aunt Harriet” in children’s literature. He looks at how Tubman has been portrayed in film, painting, music, and theater; in her Maryland birthplace; in Auburn, New York, where she lived out her final years; and in the naming of schools, streets, and other public venues. He also investigates how the legendary Tubman was embraced and represented by different groups during her lifetime and at her death in 1913. Ultimately, Sernett contends that Harriet Tubman may be America’s most malleable and resilient icon.
Michael Norman University of Wisconsin Press, 2011 Library of Congress BF1472.U6S37 2011 | Dewey Decimal 133.109775
Grab a cozy blanket, light a few flickering candles, and enjoy the unnerving tales of Haunted Wisconsin. Gathered from personal interviews with credible eyewitnesses, on-site explorations, historical archives, newspaper reports, and other sources, these scores of reports date from Wisconsin’s early settlement days to recent inexplicable events.
You’ll read about Wisconsin’s most famous haunted house, Summerwind; three Milwaukee men who encountered the beautiful ghost of National Avenue; a phantom basketball player; a spectral horse that signaled death in the pioneer era of the Wisconsin Dells; a poltergeist in St. Croix County who attracted a crowd of more than three hundred spectators; the Ridgeway Ghost who haunts the driftless valleys of southwestern Wisconsin; a swinging railroad lantern held by unseen hands; the Ghost Island of the Chippewa Flowage; and many others. Are ghosts real? That’s for you to decide!
Now available in a Third Edition with updates and several new accounts, Haunted Wisconsin remains a favorite collection of unexplained midwestern tales, enjoyed by readers of all ages.
Hegel Myths and Legends
Jon Stewart Northwestern University Press, 1996 Library of Congress B2948.H335 1996 | Dewey Decimal 193
For many years, scholars in German idealism have known that a number of the views of Hegel rife in the Anglo-Saxon world are highly inaccurate. The essays collected in The Hegel Myths and Legends disabuse students and nonspecialists of these misconceptions by exposing the myths for what they are.
THE HOLY GRAIL
Richard W. Barber Harvard University Press, 2004 Library of Congress PN686.G7B27 2004 | Dewey Decimal 398.4
Robert M. Zingg; Edited by Jay C. Fikes, Phil C. Weigand, and Acelia García de Weigand University of Arizona Press, 2004 Library of Congress F1221.H9Z48 2004 | Dewey Decimal 299.784544013
Best known for their ritual use of peyote, the Huichol people of west-central Mexico carried much of their original belief system into the twentieth century unadulterated by the influence of Christian missionaries. Among the Huichol, reciting myths and performing rituals pleases the ancestors and helps maintain a world in which abundant subsistence and good health are assured.
This volume is a collection of myths recorded by Robert Zingg in 1934 in the village of Tuxpan and is the most comprehensive record of Huichol mythology ever published. Zingg was the first professional anthropologist to study the Huichol, and his generosity toward them and political advocacy on their behalf allowed him to overcome tribal sanctions against divulging secrets to outsiders. He is fondly remembered today by some Huichols who were children when he lived among them. Zingg recognized that the alternation between dry and wet seasons pervades Huichol myth and ritual as it does their subsistence activities, and his arrangement of the texts sheds much light on Huichol tradition. The volume contains both aboriginal myths that attest to the abiding Huichol obligation to serve ancestors who control nature and its processes, and Christian-inspired myths that document the traumatic effect that silver mining and Franciscan missions had on Huichol society.
First published in 1998 in a Spanish-language edition, Huichol Mythology is presented here for the first time in English, with more than 40 original photographs by Zingg accompanying the text. For this volume, the editors provide a meticulous historical account of Huichol society from about 200 A.D. through the colonial era, enabling readers to fully grasp the significance of the myths free of the sensationalized interpretations found in popular accounts of the Huichol. Zingg’s compilation is a landmark work, indispensable to the study of mythology, Mexican Indians, and comparative religion.
In the Sierra Madre
Jeff Biggers University of Illinois Press, 2006 Library of Congress F1221.T25B54 2006 | Dewey Decimal 972.16004974546
"A stunning history of legendary treasure seekers and enigmatic natives in Mexico's Copper Canyon"
The Sierra Madre--no other mountain range in the world possesses such a ring of intrigue. In the Sierra Madre is a groundbreaking and extraordinary memoir that chronicles the astonishing history of one of the most famous, yet unknown, regions in the world. Based on his one-year sojourn among the Raramuri/Tarahumara, award-winning journalist Jeff Biggers offers a rare look into the ways of the most resilient indigenous culture in the Americas, the exploits of Mexican mountaineers, and the fascinating parade of argonauts and accidental travelers that has journeyed into the Sierra Madre over centuries. From African explorers, Bohemian friars, Confederate and Irish war deserters, French poets, Boer and Russian commandos, Apache and Mennonite communities, bewildered archaeologists, addled writers, and legendary characters including Antonin Artaud, B. Traven, Sergei Eisenstein, George Patton, Geronimo, and Pancho Villa, Biggers uncovers the remarkable treasures of the Sierra Madre.
Oni, ubiquitous supernatural figures in Japanese literature, lore, art, and religion, usually appear as demons or ogres. Characteristically threatening, monstrous creatures with ugly features and fearful habits, including cannibalism, they also can be harbingers of prosperity, beautiful and sexual, and especially in modern contexts, even cute and lovable. There has been much ambiguity in their character and identity over their long history. Usually male, their female manifestations convey distinctivly gendered social and cultural meanings.
Oni appear frequently in various arts and media, from Noh theater and picture scrolls to modern fiction and political propaganda, They remain common figures in popular Japanese anime, manga, and film and are becoming embedded in American and international popular culture through such media. Noriko Reiderýs book is the first in English devoted to oni. Reider fully examines their cultural history, multifaceted roles, and complex significance as "others" to the Japanese.
He was the deadliest gun in the West. Or was he? Ringo: the very name has come to represent the archetypal Western gunfighter and has spawned any number of fictitious characters laying claim to authenticity. John Ringo's place in western lore is not without basis: he rode with outlaw gangs for thirteen of his thirty-two years, participated in Texas's Hoodoo War, and was part of the faction that opposed the Earp brothers in Tombstone, Arizona. Yet his life remains as mysterious as his grave, a bouldered cairn under a five-stemmed blackjack oak. Western historian Jack Burrows now challenges popular views of Ringo in this first full-length treatment of the myth and the man. Based on twenty years of research into historical archives and interviews with Ringo's family, it cuts through the misconceptions and legends to show just what kind of man Ringo really was.
In this close analysis of The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan, a sixth-century commentary on the Mishnah-tractate The Fathers (Avot), Jacob Neusner considers the way in which the story, as a distinctive type of narrative, entered the canonical writings of Judaism. The final installment in Neusner's cycle of analyses of the major texts of the Judaic canon, Judaism and Story shows that stories about sages exist in far greater proportion in The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan than in any of the other principal writings in the canon of Judaism of late antiquity. Neusner's detailed comparison of The Fathers and The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan demonstrates the transmission and elaboration of these stories and shows how these processes incorporated the newer view of the sage as a supernatural figure and of the eschatological character of Judaic teleology. These distinctions, as Neusner describes them, mark a shift in Jewish orientation to world history.
Judaism and Story documents a chapter of rabbinic tradition that explored the possibility of historical orientation by means of stories. As Neusner demonstrates, this experiment with narrative went beyond the borders of rabbinic preoccupation with rhetorical argumentation focused on the explication of the Torah. The sage story moved in the direction of biography, but without allowing biography to emerge. This development, in Neusner's account, parallels the movement from epistle to Gospel in early Christianity and thus has broad implications for the history of religions.
Legend Tripping: A Contemporary Legend Casebook explores the practice of legend tripping, wherein individuals or groups travel to a site where a legend is thought to have taken place. Legend tripping is a common informal practice depicted in epics, stories, novels, and film throughout both contemporary and historical vernacular culture. In this collection, contributors show how legend trips can express humanity’s interest in the frontier between life and death and the fascination with the possibility of personal contact with the supernatural or spiritual.
The volume presents both insightful research and useful pedagogy, making this an invaluable resource in the classroom. Selected major articles on legend tripping, with introductory sections written by the editors, are followed by discussion questions and projects designed to inspire readers to engage critically with legend traditions and customs of legend tripping and to explore possible meanings and symbolics at work. Suggested projects incorporate digital technology as it appears both in legends and in modes of legend tripping.
Legend Tripping is appropriate for students, general readers, and folklorists alike. It is the first volume in the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research series, a set of casebooks providing thorough and up-to-date studies that showcase a variety of scholarly approaches to contemporary legends, along with variants of legend texts, discussion questions, and projects for students.
Contributors: S. Elizabeth Bird, Bill Ellis, Carl Lindahl, Patricia M. Meley, Tim Prizer
From Litchfield's great church stove war to Hartford's Charter Oak to Stonington's infamous Lantern Hill, these traditional tales from the Nutmeg State span four centuries of Connecticut history. Personal legends, narratives, anecdotes, and supernatural stories--all are fascinating, humorous and rich with the history and lore of the land.
In the 1950s and ‘60s, John W. Allen told the people of southern Illinois about themselves—about their region, its history, and its folkways—in his series of newspaper articles, “It Happened in Southern Illinois.” Each installment of the series depicted a single item of interest—a town, a building, an enterprise, a person, an event, a custom. Originally published in 1963, Legends & Lore of Southern Illinois brings together a selection of these articles preserving a valuable body of significant local history and cultural lore.
During territorial times and early statehood, southern Illinois was the most populous and most influential part of the state. But the advent of the steamboat and the building of the National Road made the lands to the west and north more easily accessible, and the later settlers struck out for the more expansive and fertile prairies. The effect of this movement was to isolate that section of the state known as Egypt and halt its development, creating what Allen termed “an historical eddy.” Bypassed as it was by the main current of westward expansion and economic growth, its culture changed very slowly. Methods, practices, and the tools of the pioneer continued in use for a long time. The improved highways and better means of communication of the twentieth century brought a marked change upon the region, and daily life no longer differed materially from that of other areas.
Against such a cultural and historical backdrop, Mr. Allen wrote these sketches of the people of southern Illinois—of their folkways and beliefs, their endeavors, successes, failures, and tragedies, and of the land to which they came. There are stories here of slaves and their masters, criminals, wandering peddlers, politicians, law courts and vigilantes, and of boat races on the rivers. Allen also looks at the region’s earlier history, describing American Indian ruins, monuments, and artifacts as well as the native population’s encounters with European settlers.
Many of the vestiges of the region’s past culture have all but disappeared, surviving only in museums and in the written record. This new paperback edition of Legends & Lore of Southern Illinois brings that past culture to life again in Allen’s descriptive, engaging style.
Whereas twelfth-century pilgrims flocked to the church of St-Lazare in Autun to visit the relics of its patron saint, present-day pilgrims journey there to admire its superb sculpture, said to have been created by the artist Gislebertus whose name is inscribed above one of the church doors. These two cults, of sculptor and of saint, form points of departure and arrival for Linda Seidel's study.
Legends in Limestone reveals how "Gislebertus, sculptor" was discovered and subsequently sanctified over the course of the last century. Seidel makes a compelling case for the identification of the name with an ancestor of the local ducal family, invoked for his role in the acquisition of the precious relics. With the aid of evidence drawn from the richly carved decoration of the building, she demonstrates how medieval visitors would have read a different holy narrative in the church fabric, one that constructed before their eyes an account of their patron saint's life.
Legends in Limestone, an absorbing study of one of France's most revered medieval monuments, provides fresh insights into modern and medieval interpretive practices.
Legends of the Northern Paiute shares and preserves twenty-one original and previously unpublished Northern Paiute legends, as told by Wilson Wewa, a spiritual leader and oral historian of the Warm Springs Paiute. These legends were originally told around the fires of Paiute camps and villages during the “story-telling season” of winter in the Great Basin of the American West. They were shared with Paiute communities as a way to pass on tribal visions of the “animal people” and the “human people,” their origins and values, their spiritual and natural environment, and their culture and daily lives.
The legends in this volume were recorded, transcribed, reviewed, and edited by Wilson Wewa and James Gardner. Each legend was recorded, then read and edited out loud, to respect the creativity, warmth, and flow of Paiute storytelling. The stories selected for inclusion include familiar characters from native legends, such as Coyote, as well as intriguing characters unique to the Northern Paiute, such as the creature embodied in the Smith Rock pinnacle, now known as Monkey Face, but known to the Paiutes in Central Oregon as Nuwuzoho the Cannibal.
Wewa’s apprenticeship to Northern Paiute culture began when he was about six years old. These legends were passed on to him by his grandmother and other tribal elders. They are now made available to future generations of tribal members, and to students, scholars, and readers interested in Wewa’s fresh and authentic voice. These legends are best read and appreciated as they were told—out loud, shared with others, and delivered with all of the verve, cadence, creativity, and humor of original Paiute storytellers on those clear, cold winter nights in the high desert.
This volume of selections and commentary by the premier Western translator and interpreter of the Chan-kuo Ts'e contains all of the author's favorite pieces. It also features more complete warring states narratives, the "romances"--persuasions of four of the best-known figures, Fan Chü, Chang Yi, Su Ch'in, and Ch'un-shen Chün, augmented by biographical material from the Shi-chi. This reader highlights both the nature of Chan-kuoTs'e, an important pre-Han collection, and its considerable pleasures.
Lives and Legends of the Christmas Tree Ships brings the maritime heritage of the Great Lakes to life, using the tragic story of the schooner Rouse Simmons as a porthole into the robust but often forgotten communities that thrived along Lake Michigan from the Civil War to World War I.
Memorialized in songs, poems, fiction, and even a musical, the infamous ship that went down in a Thanksgiving storm while delivering Christmas trees to Chicago has long been shrouded in myth and legend. As a result, the larger story of the captain, crew, and affected communities has often been overlooked. Fred Neuschel delves into this everyday life of camaraderie, drudgery, ambition, and adventure—with tales of the Midwest’s burgeoning immigrant groups and rapid industrialization—to create a true story that is even more fascinating than the celebrated legends.
Some of the American West’s grandest legends are about people who in reality were remorseless killers, robbers, and bandits. These outlaws flourished during the 1800s and gained notoriety throughout the following century. How did their fame persist, and what has inspired the publishing, movie, and television industries to recreate their fictionalized careers over and over again?
Mark Dugan brings reality to the forefront in The Making of Legends. Some of the characters in his accounts are practically unknown but deserve more recognition than the bandits whose names are mythic. Exhaustive archival research enables him to recreate such colorful lives as North Carolina’s Malina Blaylock, who, disguised as a man, joined her outlaw husband in the Confederate army; slippery escape artist David Lewis, the Robin Hood of the Cumberland, who finally stopped two bullets in a chaotic Pennsylvania shoot-out; Wyatt Earp, in his mysterious post-OK Corral year, amidst the Coeur d’Alene gold rush; and grim “Laughing Sam” Hartman, of South Dakota.
Dugan sets the stage by explaining how newspapers and dime novels fanned the flames of public fascination with outlaws. He unmasks the real Billy the Kid, traces the paths of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to their historic shoot-out in South America, and masterfully summarizes the Civil War grudges, bloodshed, and wanton destruction along the Kansas-Missouri border that spawned Jesse and Frank James and the Younger brothers gang.
In researching the lawless era of the American frontier, Dugan discovered much information that has never been published — material that will expand readers' views of frontier history and people, both good and bad. The Making of Legends proves that the actual stories of notorious legends can be more exciting, moving, and intriguing than anything dreamed up in a dime novel or a Hollywood fantasy.
With The Making of Legends Mark Dugan’s pursuit of outlaws takes him to Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Texas, California, South Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, Nebraska, Indiana, Wyoming, and Montana.
Soon after winning the presidency in 1845, according to the oft-repeated anecdote, James K. Polk slapped his thigh and predicted what would be the "four great measures" of his administration: the acquisition of some or all of the Oregon Country, the acquisition of California, a reduction in tariffs, and the establishment of a permanent independent treasury. Over the next four years, the Tennessee Democrat achieved all four goals. And those milestones—along with his purported enunciation of them—have come to define his presidency. Indeed, repeated ad infinitum in U.S. history textbooks, Polk's bold listing of goals has become U.S. political history’s equivalent of Babe Ruth’s called home run of the 1932 World Series, in which the slugger allegedly gestured toward the outfield and, on the next pitch, slammed a home run.
But then again, as Tom Chaffin reveals in this lively tour de force of historiographic sleuthing, like Ruth's alleged "called shot" of 1932, the "four measures" anecdote hangs by the thinnest of evidentiary threads. Indeed, not until the late 1880s, four decades after Polk’s presidency, did the story first appear in print.
In this eye-opening study, Tom Chaffin, author, historian, and, since 2008, editor of the multi-volume series Correspondence of James K. Polk, dispatches the thigh-slap anecdote and other misconceptions associated with Polk. In the process, Chaffin demonstrates how the "four measures" story has skewed our understanding of the 11th U.S. president. As president, Polk enlarged his nation's area by a third—thus rendering it truly a coast-to-coast continental nation-state. Indeed, the anecdote does not record, and effectively obscures complex events, including notable failures—such as Polk's botched effort to purchase Cuba, as well as his inability to shape the terms of California's and the New Mexico territory's admission into the Union. Cuba would never enter the federal Union; and those other tasks would be left for successor presidents. Indeed, debates over the future of slavery in the United States—debates accelerated by Polk's territorial gains—eventually produced perhaps the central irony of his legacy: A president devoted to national unity further sectionalized the nation’s politics, widening geopolitical fractures among the states that soon led to civil war.
Engagingly written and lavishly illustrated, Met His Every Goal?—intended for general readers, students, and specialists—offers a primer on Polk and a revisionist view of much of the scholarship concerning him and his era. Drawing on published scholarship as well as contemporary documents—including heretofore unpublished materials—it presents a fresh portrait of an enigmatic autocrat. And in Chaffin's examination of an oft-repeated anecdote long accepted as fact, readers witness a case study in how historians use primary sources to explore—and in some cases, explode—received conceptions of the past.
Tom Chaffin is research professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for which he directs and edits the multi-volume series Correspondence of James K. Polk. He lives in Atlanta and is the author of, among other books, Giant's Causeway: Frederick Douglass's Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary, Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of Empire, and Sea of Gray: The Around-the-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah.
Over the course of its history, the state of Michigan has produced its share of folktales and lore. Many are familiar with the Ojibwa legend of Sleeping Bear Dunes, and most have heard a yarn or two told of Michigan’s herculean lumberjack, Paul Bunyan.
But what about Detroit’s Nain Rouge, the red-eyed imp they say bedeviled the city’s earliest residents? Or Le Griffon, the Great Lakes’ original ghost ship that some believe haunts the waters to this day? Or the Bloodstoppers, Upper Peninsula folk who’ve been known to halt a wound’s bleeding with a simple touch thanks to their magic healing powers?
In Michigan Legends, Sheryl James collects these and more stories of the legendary people, events, and places from Michigan’s real and imaginary past. Set in a range of historical time periods and locales as well as featuring a collage of ethnic traditions—including Native American, French, English, African American, and Finnish—these tales are a vivid sample of the state’s rich cultural heritage. This book will appeal to all Michiganders and anyone else interested in good folktales, myths, legends, or lore.
Miracles occupied a unique place in medieval and Byzantine life and thought. This volume makes available three collections of miracle tales never before translated into English. They deepen our understanding of attitudes toward miracles and display the remarkable range of registers in which Greek could be written during the Byzantine period.
Missouri has been likened to a “cave factory” because its limestone bedrock can be slowly dissolved by groundwater to form caverns, and the state boasts more than six thousand caves in an unbelievable variety of sizes, lengths, and shapes. Dwight Weaver has been fascinated by Missouri’s caves since boyhood and now distills a lifetime of exploration and research in a book that will equally fascinate readers of all ages.
Missouri Caves in History and Legend records a cultural heritage stretching from the end of the ice age to the twenty-first century. In a grand tour of the state’s darkest places, Weaver takes readers deep underground to shed light on the historical significance of caves, correct misinformation about them, and describe the ways in which people have used and abused these resources.
Weaver tells how these underground places have enriched our knowledge of extinct animals and early Native Americans. He explores the early uses of caves: for the mining of saltpeter, onyx, and guano; as sources of water; for cold storage; and as livestock shelters. And he tells how caves were used for burial sites and moonshine stills, as hideouts for Civil War soldiers and outlaws—revealing how Jesse James became associated with Missouri caves—and even as venues for underground dance parties in the late nineteenth century.
Bringing caves into the modern era, Weaver relates the history of Missouri’s “show caves” over a hundred years—from the opening of Mark Twain Cave in 1886 to that of Onyx Mountain Caverns in 1990—and tells of the men and women who played a major role in expanding the state’s tourism industry. He also tracks the hunt for the buried treasure and uranium ore that have captivated cave explorers, documents the emergence of organized caving, and explains how caves now play a role in wildlife management by providing a sanctuary for endangered bats and other creatures.
Included in the book is an overview of cave resources in twelve regions, covering all the counties that currently have recorded caves, as well as a superb selection of photos from the author’s extensive collection, depicting the history and natural features of these underground wonders. Missouri Caves in History and Legend is a riveting account that marks an important contribution to the state’s heritage and brings this world of darkness into the light of day.
The Myth of Pope Joan
Alain Boureau University of Chicago Press, 2001 Library of Congress BX958.F2B6813 2001 | Dewey Decimal 262.13
In the ninth century, a brilliant young woman named Joan disguised herself as a man so that she could follow her lover into the then-exclusively male world of scholarship. She proved so successful that she ascended the Catholic hierarchy in Rome and was eventually elected pope. Her pontificate lasted two years, until she became pregnant and died after giving birth during a public procession from the Vatican.
Or so the legend goes—a legend that was fabricated sometime in the thirteenth century, according to Alain Boureau, and which has persisted in one form or another down to the present day. In this fascinating saga of belief and rhetoric, politics and religion, Boureau investigates the historical and ecclesiastical circumstances under which the myth of Pope Joan was constructed and the different uses to which it was put over the centuries. He shows, for instance, how Catholic clerics justified the exclusion of women from the papacy and the priesthood by employing the myth in misogynist moral tales, only to find the popess they had created turned against them in anti-Catholic propaganda during the Reformation.
Once Upon A Virus
Diane E. Goldstein Utah State University Press, 2004 Library of Congress RA643.86.C22N494 2004 | Dewey Decimal 614.59939209718
Out to see America and satisfy his travel bug, W. T. Pfefferle resigned from his position as director of the writing program at Johns Hopkins University and hit the road to interview sixty-two poets about the significance of place in their work. The lively conversations that resulted may surprise with the potential meanings of a seemingly simple concept. This gathering of voices and ideas is illustrated with photo and word portraits from the road and represented with suitable poems.
The poets are James Harms, David Citino, Martha Collins, Linda Gregerson, Richard Tillinghast, Orlando Ricardo Menes, Mark Strand, Karen Volkman, Lisa Samuels, Marvin Bell, Michael Dennis Browne, David Allan Evans, David Romtvedt, Sandra Alcosser, Robert Wrigley, Nance Van Winckel, Christopher Howell, Mark Halperin, Jana Harris, Sam Hamill, Barbara Drake, Floyd Skloot, Ralph Angel, Carol Muske-Dukes, David St. John, Sharon Bryan, Donald Revell, Claudia Keelan, Alberto Rios, Richard Shelton, Jane Miller, William Wenthe, Naomi Shihab Nye, Peter Cooley, Miller Williams, Beth Ann Fennelly, Natasha Trethewey, Denise Duhamel, Campbell McGrath, Terrance Hayes, Alan Shapiro, Nikki Giovanni, Charles Wright, Rita Dove, Henry Taylor, Dave Smith, Nicole Cooley, David Lehman, Lucie Brock-Broido, Michael S. Harper, C. D. Wright, Mark Wunderlich, James Cummins, Frederick Smock, Mark Jarman, Carl Phillips, Scott Cairns, Elizabeth Dodd, Jonathan Holden, Bin Ramke, Kenneth Brewer, and Paisley Rekdal.
Every American has heard of the lumberjack hero Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox. For 100 years his exploits filled cartoons, magazines, short stories, and children's books, and his name advertised everything from pancake breakfasts to construction supplies. By 1950 Bunyan was a ubiquitous icon of America's strength and ingenuity. Until now, no one knew where he came from—and the extent to which this mythical hero is rooted in Wisconsin.
Out of the Northwoods presents the culture of nineteenth-century lumberjacks in their own words. It includes eyewitness accounts of how the first Bunyan stories were shared on frigid winter nights, around logging camp stoves, in the Wisconsin pinery. It describes where the tales began, how they moved out of the forest and into print, and why publication changed them forever. Part bibliographic mystery and part social history, Out of the Northwoods explains for the first time why we all know and love Paul Bunyan.
A city of immense literary mystique, Prague has inspired writers across the centuries with its beauty, cosmopolitanism, and tragic history. Envisioning the ancient city in central Europe as a multilayered text, or palimpsest, that has been constantly revised and rewritten—from the medieval and Renaissance chroniclers who legitimized the city’s foundational origins to the modernists of the early twentieth century who established its reputation as the new capital of the avant-garde—Alfred Thomas argues that Prague has become a paradoxical site of inscription and effacement, of memory and forgetting, a utopian link to the prewar and pre-Holocaust European past and a dystopia of totalitarian amnesia.
Considering a wide range of writers, including the city’s most famous son, Franz Kafka, Prague Palimpsest reassesses the work of poets and novelists such as Bohumil Hrabal, Milan Kundera, Gustav Meyrink, Jan Neruda, Vítĕzslav Nezval, and Rainer Maria Rilke and engages with other famous authors who “wrote” Prague, including Guillaume Apollinaire, Ingeborg Bachmann, Albert Camus, Paul Celan, and W. G. Sebald. The result is a comparative, interdisciplinary study that helps to explain why Prague—more than any other major European city—has haunted the cultural and political imagination of the West.
In Reading Medieval Latin with the Legend of Barlaam and Josaphat, Donka D. Markus offers comprehensive commentary on the 13th-century Dominican theologian Jacobus de Voragine’s retelling of the ancient story of the life of the Buddha that will resonate with contemporary students of Latin.
Jacobus’s version of the legend serves as a compelling, original Latin text. Vividly conveyed through parables, fables, and anecdotes, it naturally lends itself to a critical consideration of ethical principles and philosophical truths commonly shared across many cultures. With its rich stylistic devices and authentic classical Latin word order, it provides superb training for reading rhetorical prose before advancing to the works of more complex classical prose authors. At the same time, the text offers a unique opportunity for systematically learning the special features of Late and Medieval Latin. Included in this volume are two presentations of Jacobus’s text: one maintaining the original orthography reflecting Latin as it appears in medieval manuscripts, and one in which the orthography follows Classical Latin norms.
This textbook is designed for intermediate-level learners of Classical or Medieval Latin, whether in college, high school, or by self-directed study. The 5,000-word narrative text lends itself to a semester-long experience of reading one continuous work of prose. Each of the legend’s embedded stories can also be read as an independent selection with the help of the ample commentary, vocabulary, and grammar guidance. The extensive introduction provides the necessary background to contextualize the legend in its Latin iteration and sufficient historical information to make the reading meaningful for those without prior knowledge of Buddhism or medieval history. Additionally, this work makes Latin attractive to students of diverse backgrounds, as it highlights the language’s important role in disseminating the universally shared cultural legacy of humanity.
An entertaining collection of over 400 folk tales of legends, stories, and magic. Translated from the original Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish, this highly acclaimed work is perfect for bedside or fireside reading.
"This volume will be warmly welcomed by scholars and the general public alike. A stupendous investment of skills and time." The Scandinavian-American Bulletin
"Readers may turn to Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend secure in the knowledge that they will receive an accurate and thorough picture of the subject, especially of the Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish traditions." American Anthropologist
"Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend is a very readable work which is both informative and interesting. It is also a useful reference tool. The entries are both diverse and illuminating for introductory classes in folklore." Folklore Forum
"It is impossible, in a brief review, to do justice to the richness and range of the materials presented in this veritable cornucopia. We owe the editors and the University of Minnesota Press a great debt for making this wonderful collection available in English." New York Folklore
"This rich collection of about 400 folk narratives makes for wonderful and instructive reading. The translations are so convincing that the reader all but forgets that the texts were not uttered in English." Journal of Folklore Research
In Science, Bread, and Circuses, Gregory Schrempp brings a folkloristic viewpoint to the topic of popular science, calling attention to the persistence of folkloric form, idiom, and worldview within the increasingly important dimension of popular consciousness defined by the impact of science.
Schrempp considers specific examples of texts in which science interpreters employ folkloric tropes—myths, legends, epics, proverbs, spectacles, and a variety of gestures from religious traditions—to lend credibility and appeal to their messages. In each essay he explores an instance of science popularization rooted in the quotidian round: variations of proverb formulas in monumental measurements, invocations of science heroes like saints or other inspirational figures, the battle of mythos and logos in parenting and academe, the meme's involvement in quasi-religious treatments of the problem of evil, and a range of other tropes of folklore drafted to serve the exposition of science.
Science, Bread, and Circuses places the relationship of science and folklore at the very center of folkloristic inquiry by exploring a range of attempts to rephrase and thus domesticate scientific findings and claims in folklorically imbued popular forms.
In Japanese culture, oni are ubiquitous supernatural creatures who play important roles in literature, lore, and folk belief. Characteristically ambiguous, they have been great and small, mischievous and dangerous, and ugly and beautiful over their long history. Here, author Noriko Reider presents seven oni stories from medieval Japan in full and translated for an English-speaking audience.
Reider, concordant with many scholars of Japanese cultural studies, argues that to study oni is to study humanity. These tales are from an era in which many new oni stories appeared for the purpose of both entertainment and moral/religious edification and for which oni were particularly important, as they were perceived to be living entities. They reflect not only the worldview of medieval Japan but also themes that inform twenty-first-century Japanese pop and vernacular culture, including literature, manga, film, and anime. With each translation, Reider includes an introductory essay exploring the historical and cultural importance of the characters and oni manifestations within this period.
Offering new insights into and interpretations of not only the stories therein but also the entire genre of Japanese ghost stories, Seven Demon Stories is a valuable companion to Reider’s 2010 volume Japanese Demon Lore. It will be of significant value to folklore scholars as well as students of Japanese culture.
The Spanish Peaks stand alone some distance from the main cordillera of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, south of Pueblo, Colorado. The towering twin mountains have served as beacons for Native Americans, Spaniards, trappers, traders, travelers on the Santa Fe trail, miners, and homesteaders. Spanish Peaks shares the legends the mountains have inspired and tells of the peoples drawn to the peaks' shelter. Author Conger Beasley Jr. and photographer Barbara Sparks portray the people who struggle to sustain their lives here and document traditional events such as the Ute Bear Dance and Holy Week among the penitentes of Huerfano Church. Beasley's vivid writing and Sparks's photographs offer tribute to a rugged, mysterious place.
Long regarded as folklife classics, Henry Charlton Beck's books are vivid recreations of the back roads, small towns, and legends that give New Jersey its special character. Rutgers University Press is pleased to make these important books available again in newly designed editions.
"Johnny Appleseed, Davy Crockett, Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan and John Henry have all become heroes of American folklore. Some of them, like Crokett, were real, but all have become the subject of tall tales. This is a folksy history of the United States, told as if the characters were all real. This panoramic (if completely untrue) history begins with Columbus. . . . En route to its end in the 1940s (where traditional American heroes are enlisted to fight in World War II), it covers the great and small events of our national history, including the overlooked, but important ones, such as the invention of the prairie dog."—Washington Post Book World
The fugitive slave known as “Three-Fingered Jack” terrorized colonial Jamaica from 1780 until vanquished by Maroons, self-emancipated Afro-Jamaicans bound by treaty to police the island for runaways and rebels. A thief and a killer, Jack was also a freedom fighter who sabotaged the colonial machine until his grisly death at its behest. Narratives about his exploits shed light on the problems of black rebellion and solutions administered by the colonial state, creating an occasion to consider counter-narratives about its methods of divide and conquer. For more than two centuries, writers, performers, and storytellers in England, Jamaica, and the United States have “thieved" Three Fingered Jack's riveting tale, defining black agency through and against representations of his resistance.
Frances R. Botkin offers a literary and cultural history that explores the persistence of stories about this black rebel, his contributions to constructions of black masculinity in the Atlantic world, and his legacies in Jamaican and United States popular culture.
Historians know a great deal about how English thinkers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the "documentable" past, but relatively little about how they perceived times stretching back beyond history. Arthur B. Ferguson shows in this elegant essay that prehistory had great meaning in Renaissance England. Commentators of various sorts—from poets to antiquaries—looked to the most distant past for the vanishing point that would perfect their historical perspective and orient them in an age of increasing change. In this pursuit they had often to let imagination serve the purposes of interpretation. Though largely speculative, their efforts reveal much about the intellectual life of Renaissance England. Since the Bible left little room for speculation on prehistory—in fact no room at all for the concept itself—Utter Antiquity concentrates on myth and legend outside of the biblical context and on those who conjured prehistory out of these sources. A subtle conflict between belief and skepticism emerges from these pages, as Ferguson reveals how some Renaissance writers struggled with ancient explanations that flouted reason and experience, while others sidestepped such doubts by relating prehistory to man's social evolution. By isolating and analyzing topics such as skepticism, rationalism, and poetic history, Ferguson illuminates the development of historical consciousness in early modern England. His accessible and eloquent study contributes significantly to an understanding of the Renaissance mind and intellectual history in general.
As war, pestilence, and famine spread through Europe in the Middle Ages, so did reports of miracles, of hopeless victims wondrously saved from disaster. These "rescue miracles," recorded by over one hundred fourteenth-century cults, are the basis of Michael Goodich's account of the miraculous in everyday medieval life.
Rescue miracles offer a wide range of voices rarely heard in medieval history, from women and children to peasants and urban artisans. They tell of salvation not just from the ravages of nature and war, but from the vagaries of a violent society—crime, unfair judicial practices, domestic squabbles, and communal or factional conflict. The stories speak to a collapse of confidence in decaying institutions, from the law to the market to feudal authority. Particularly, the miraculous escapes documented during the Hundred Years' War, the Italian communal wars, and other conflicts are vivid testimony to the end of aristocratic warfare and the growing victimization of noncombatants.
Miracles, Goodich finds, represent the transcendent and unifying force of faith in a time of widespread distress and the hopeless conditions endured by the common people of the Middle Ages. Just as the lives of the saints, once dismissed as church propaganda, have become valuable to historians, so have rescue miracles, as evidence of an underlying medieval mentalite. This work expands our knowledge of that state of mind and the grim conditions that colored and shaped it.
Voices of the Magi explores the popular Catholic musical ensembles of southeastern Brazil known as folias de reis (companies of kings). Composed predominantly of low-income workers, the folias reenact the journey of the Wise Men to Bethlehem and back to the Orient, as they roam from house to house, singing to bless the families they visit in exchange for food and money. These gifts, in turn, are used to prepare a festival on Kings' Day, January 6, to which all who contributed are invited.
Focusing on urban folias, Suzel Ana Reily shows how participants use the ritual journeys and musical performances of the folias to create sacred spheres distinct from, yet intimately related to, their everyday world. Reily calls this practice "enchantment" and argues that it allows the folia communities to temporarily make the social ideals of mutual reciprocity and equality embodied in their religious beliefs a reality. The contrast between their ritual experiences and the daily lives of these impoverished workers, in turn, reinforces the religious convictions of these devotees of the music of the Magi.
Zuñi Coyote Tales
Frank Hamilton Cushing University of Arizona Press, 1998 Library of Congress E99.Z9C92 1998 | Dewey Decimal 398.2089979
Coyote tales are among the best loved in Native American folklore, and those recorded by anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing at the end of the nineteenth century have well survived the test of time. This collection of authentic stories extracted from his classic Zuñi Folk Tales offers modern readers of all ages a new appreciation of magic and myth as celebrated by the Zuñi Indians of western New Mexico.
These tales pit the wily Coyote against various demons and other creatures in order to convey simple lessons or explain animal characteristics or behavior. They tell how the tip of the coyote's tail became black after dancing with blackbirds and how coyotes learned never to insult horned-toads—and to keep clear of burrowing-owls. Through these tales, we learn why Coyote meddles with everything that does not concern him, makes a universal nuisance of himself, and is ready to jump into any trap laid for him.