Thomas A. McKean
The flowering thorn expresses the dual nature of the ballad: at once a distinctive expression of European tradition, but also somewhat tricky to approach from a scholarly perspective, requiring a range of disciplines to illuminate its rich composition. Most of this latter quality has to do with the very features that characterize ballads... or narrative songs. These include an appearance of fragmentation; a wide range of cultural and social referents; complex, evocative symbolic language; and variation. The notable multiformity of meaning, text and tune is mirrored in scholarship, too. The Flowering Thorn is therefore wide ranging, with articles written by world authorities from the fields of folklore, history, literature, and ethnology, employing a variety of methodologies—structuralism to functionalism, repertoire studies to geographical explorations of cultural movement and change. The twenty-five selected contributions represent the latest trends in ballad scholarship, embracing the multi-disciplinary nature of the field today. The essays have their origins in the 1999 International Ballad Conference of the Kommission fur Volksdichtung (KfV), which focused particularly on ballads and social context; performance and repertoire; genre, motif, and classification. The revised, tailored, and expanded essays are divided into five sections—the interpretation of narrative song; structure and motif; context, version, and transmission; regions, reprints, and repertoires; and the mediating collector's offering a range of examples from fifteen different cultures, ten of them drawing on languages other than English, resulting in a series of personal journeys to the heart of one of Europe's richest, most enduring cultural creations. —Thomas McKean, from the Introduction
CONTRIBUTORS: Mary Anne Alburger, David Atkinson, Julia C. Bishop, Valentina Bold, Katherine Campbell, Nicolae Constantinescu, Luisa Del Giudice, Sheila Douglas, David G. Engle, Frances J. Fischer, Simon Furey, Vic Gammon, Marjetka Golez-Kaucic, Pauline Greenhill, Cozette Griffin-Kremer, J. J. Dias Marques, William Bernard McCarthy, Isabelle Peere, Gerald Porter, James Porter, Roger de V. Renwick, Sigrid Rieuwerts, Michèle Simonsen, Larry Syndergaard, Stefaan Top, Larysa Vakhnina, Lynn Wollstadt
Frank de Caro
Folklore—the inherently creative expression, transmission, and performance of cultural traditions—has always provided a deep well of material for writers, musicians, and artists of all sorts. Folklorists usually employ descriptive and analytical prose, but they, like scholars in other social sciences, have increasingly sought new, creative and reflexive modes of discourse. Many folklorists are also creative writers, some well known as such, and the folk traditions they research often provide shape and substance to their work. This collection of creative writing grounded in folklore and its study brings together some of the best examples of such writing.
Contributors to this collection include Teresa Bergen, John Burrison, Norma E. Cantu, Frank de Caro, Holly Everett, Danusha Goska, Neil R. Grobman, Carrie Hertz, Edward Hirsch, Laurel Horton, Rosan Augusta Jordan, Paul Jordan-Smith, Elaine J. Lawless, Cynthia Levee, Jens Lund, Mary Magoulick, Bernard McCarthy, Joanne B. Mulcahy, Kirin Narayan, Ted Olson, Daniel Peretti, Leslie Prosterman, Jo Radner, Susan Stewart, Jeannie Banks Thomas, Jeff Todd Titon, Libby Tucker, Margaret Yocom, and Steve Zeitlin.
William A. Wilson
Composed over several decades, the essays here are remarkably fresh and relevant. They offer instruction for the student just beginning the study of folklore as well as repeated value for the many established scholars who continue to wrestle with issues that Wilson has addressed. As his work has long offered insight on critical mattersn--nationalism, genre, belief, the relationship of folklore to other disciplines in the humanities and arts, the currency of legend, the significance of humor as a cultural expression, and so forth--so his recent writing, in its reflexive approach to narrative and storytelling, illuminates today's paradigms. Its notable autobiographical dimension, long an element of Wilson's work, employs family and local lore to draw conclusions of more universal significance. Another way to think of it is that newer folklorists are catching up with Wilson and what he has been about for some time.
As a body, Wilson's essays develop related topics and connected themes. This collection organizes them in three coherent parts. The first examines the importance of folklore. What it is and its value in various contexts. Part two, drawing especially on the experience of Finland, considers the role of folklore in national identity, including both how it helps define and sustain identity and the less savory ways it may be used for the sake of nationalistic ideology. Part three, based in large part on Wilson's extensive work in Mormon folklore, which is the most important in that area since that of Austin and Alta Fife, looks at religious cultural expressions and outsider perceptions of them and, again, at how identity is shaped, by religious belief, experience, and participation; by the stories about them; and by the many other expressive parts of life encountered daily in a culture. Each essay is introduced by a well-known folklorist who discusses the influence of Wilson's scholarship. These include Richard Bauman, Margaret Brady, Simon Bronner, Elliott Oring, Henry Glassie, David Hufford, Michael Owen Jones, and Beverly Stoeltje.
In these essays William Wilson illuminates folklore theory and practice, romantic nationalism, religious folklore, personal narrative, and much else. Each essay is introduced by a notable fellow folklorist, among them Richard Bauman, Margaret K. Brady, Simon J. Bronner, Henry Glassie, David J. Hufford, Michael Owen Jones, Elliott Oring, Steve Siporin, David Stanley, Beverly Stoeltje, and Jacqueline S. Thursby.
Simon J. Bronner
The essays of Alan Dundes virtually created the meaning of folklore as an American academic discipline. Yet many of them went quickly out of print after their initial publication in far-flung journals. Brought together for the first time in this volume compiled and edited by Simon Bronner, the selection surveys Dundes's major ideas and emphases, and is introduced by Bronner with a thorough analysis of Dundes's long career, his interpretations, and his inestimable contribution to folklore studies.
Rowland W. Rider
With his animated tales of Zane Grey, Butch Cassidy, and the Robbers Roost gang, Rider creates an engaging and believable picture of the joys and hardships of cowboy life.
In Usable Pasts, fourteen authors examine the manipulation of traditional expressions among a variety of groups from the United States and Canada: the development of a pictorial style by Navajo weavers in response to traders, Mexican American responses to the appropriation of traditional foods by Anglos, the expressive forms of communication that engender and sustain a sense of community in an African American women's social club and among elderly Yiddish folksingers in Miami Beach, the incorporation of mass media images into the "C&Ts" (customs and traditions) of a Boy Scout troop, the changing meaning of their defining Exodus-like migration to Mormons, Newfoundlanders' appropriation through the rum-drinking ritual called the Schreech-In of outsiders' stereotypes, outsiders' imposition of the once-despised lobster as the emblem of Maine, the contest over Texas's heroic Alamo legend and its departures from historical fact, and how yellow ribbons were transformed from an image in a pop song to a national symbol of "resolve."
Kimberly J. Lau, Peter Tokofsky, and Stephen D. Winick
In this collection of essays, prominent folklorists look at varied modern uses and contexts of proverbs and proverbial speech, some traditional and conventional, others new and unexpected. After the editors' introduction discussing the history and status of attempts to define proverbs, describing their contemporary circulation, and acknowledging the especially important work of paremiologist Wolfgang Meider, the contributions examine the continuing pervasiveness and idiomatic relevance of proverbs in modern culture.
Phyllis Morrow and William Schneider
The title to this interdisciplinary collection draws on the Yupik Eskimo belief that seals, fish, and other game are precious gifts that, when treated with respect and care, will return to be hunted again. Just so, if oral traditions are told faithfully and respectfully, they will return to benefit future generations. The contributors to this volume are concerned with the interpretation and representation of oral narrative and how it is shaped by its audience and the time, place, and cultural context of the narration. Thus, oral traditions are understood as a series of dialogues between tradition bearers and their listeners, including those who record, write, and interpret.
Polly Stewart, Steve Siporin, C. W. Sullivan III, and Suzi Jones
A diverse group of writers and scholars follow the lead of noted folklorist Barre Toelken and consider, from the inside, the ways in which varied cultures in the American West understand and express their relations to the world around them. As Barre Toelken puts it in The Dynamics of Folklore, "'Worldview' refers to the manner in which a culture sees and expresses its relation to the world around it." In Worldviews and the American West, seventeen notable authors and scholars, employing diverse approaches and styles, apply Toelken's ideas about worldview to the American West. While the contributors represent a range of voices, methods, and visions, they are integrated through their focus on the theme of worldview in one region. Worldviews and the American West includes essays by Margaret K. Brady, Hal Cannon, Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer, James S. Griffith, Barry Lopez, Robert McCarl, Elliott Oring, Twilo Scofield, Steve Siporin, Kim Stafford, C. W. Sullivan III, Jeannie B. Thomas, George Venn, George B. Wasson, and William A. Wilson. Each of the authors in this collection attempts to get inside one or more of the worldviews of the many cultures that have come to share and interpret the American West. The result is a lively mix of styles and voices as the authors' own worldviews interact with the multiple perspectives of the diverse peoples (and, in Barry Lopez's "The Language of Animals," other species) of the West. This diversity matches the geography of the region they all call home and gives varied life and meaning to its physical and cultural landscape.