Encyclopedia of Urban Legends

Overview

The definitive word on the subject from the dean of urban legend studies.
We all know those stories that are too bizarre to be true—roasted babies, vanishing hitchhikers, scuba divers in trees—but have you heard about the ice man or the bullet baby? This comprehensive and compellingly readable reference work will answer all your urban legend questions, offering alphabetical entries on every aspect of the subject, including descriptions of hundreds of individual legends and their...

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Overview

The definitive word on the subject from the dean of urban legend studies.
We all know those stories that are too bizarre to be true—roasted babies, vanishing hitchhikers, scuba divers in trees—but have you heard about the ice man or the bullet baby? This comprehensive and compellingly readable reference work will answer all your urban legend questions, offering alphabetical entries on every aspect of the subject, including descriptions of hundreds of individual legends and their variations, legend themes, and scholarly approaches to the genre. Other entries discuss the relationship of urban legends to literature, film, comic books, music, and many other areas of popular culture. A Booklist Editors' Choice 2001 Reference Book. "Unlike most encyclopedias, this one may be read cover to cover."—Choice "Compiled by the foremost authority on this form of contemporary folklore....Superb."—Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Unlike most encyclopedias,this one may be read cover to cover.
VOYA
Written for folklorists as well as urban legends buffs, this alphabetical analysis of the urban legend phenomenon succeeds in providing information in a variety of helpful ways. Different approaches taken by the legends, such as historical, symbolic, comparative, and sociological, are defined. In entries where the stories themselves are briefly told, historical background often is provided as well. Subject discussions in areas such as animals, crime, sex, horror, and celebrities add to the thoroughness of the study. Those teachers and librarians who are preparing students for an increasingly diverse population will be grateful for the discussions of how and where these legends have sprung up—with variations—in twenty-four major foreign countries. Analytical material is perfect for teachers doing folklore projects. Brunvand's encyclopedia also will be helpful to public librarians preparing for school visits that might include storytelling teenage folklore, a fun and cost-effective way to reach teens who rarely show up in numbers at a public library program. Definitions contain a wealth of carefully documented tidbits about the legends, such as how sharing legends has changed. The writing here is lively and just plain fun. Based on the ragged condition of other works on the topic, this reference will become another whose cover will be well worn by teachers, librarians, and students alike. This unique tool by a nationally acknowledged expert is well worth the cost. Be sure to look for the tale of the "sinking libraries" Index. Illus. Biblio. Source Notes. 2001, ABC-CLIO, 525p. PLB
— Evie Wilson-Lingbloom
Library Journal
Did you hear that Indiana University's library in Bloomington is sinking? This story which regularly evokes needless concern among university alumni is only one of thousands of urban legends that circulate in popular culture and especially on the Internet. Compiled by the foremost authority on this form of contemporary folklore, this unique encylopedia includes hundreds of such stories from published sources and oral tradition. Brunvand claims that only urban legends told in the United States are "covered comprehensively," but he does include four European versions in their original language. Each entry contains source citations (excluding popular and undocumented sources), but the selected bibliography covers a range of both scholarly and popular works. Alphabetically arranged, the entries cover individual legends ("Hairy-Armed Hitchhiker," "Procter and Gamble Trademark," etc.) and legend themes (babies, technical incompetence, etc.). Unfortunately, an inadequate index detracts from an otherwise superb reference work. Delightful for browsing by general readers, this work is also a fine source for folklore students and researchers. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries Donald Altschiller, Boston Univ. Libs. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-A definitive and entertaining look at widely recognized tales told primarily in the U.S. In his preface and introduction, Brunvand explains the topic's provenance from a scholarly perspective, making this an ideal resource for a creative school report. Readers will learn about the "The Hook," "The Baby-sitter and the Man Upstairs," and other modern urban legends that they may have missed hearing or reading on the Internet ("The Madalyn Murray O'Hair Petition"). The entries are mostly arranged alphabetically by title; some are found under their subject or geographical location of origin. Many have useful cross-references. In a few paragraphs, each story is related and placed in proper historical context. The author recognizes the role of such legends in popular culture and how they change over time and telling. Articles on broad themes (e.g., "Military Legends," "Animals in Urban Legends") are featured throughout. Occasional black-and-white cartoon drawings illustrate the book. A fascinating and trustworthy purchase.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Arranged alphabetically, entries summarize urban legends from around the world, detail their variations, discuss major themes, analyze subtexts, and consider the scholarly research on the subject. The relationship between urban legends and other aspects of folk and popular culture is explored; and advice is offered on the collection, classification, and analysis of the legends. Brunvand is professor emeritus of English at the University of Utah. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393323580
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 493,330
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Harold Brunvand lives in Salt Lake City, where he is professor emeritus at the University of Utah. He is the author of numerous books, including The Vanishing Hitchhiker; The Choking Doberman; The Baby Train; Too Good to Be True; and Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2006

    The best ever

    this book was the most horryfyng,brutal & bad book. but it's good for once in my life for me this is the best encyclopedia horror i've ever seen...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2003

    Don't read in the dark!

    I recommend this book to anyone who likes to know whether the stories told at night while camping are true, but don't read it at dark or before sleeping, you won't be able to.

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