The Greenwood Library Of American Folktales

Overview

Paul Bunyan, Br'er Rabbit, Bluebeard, and Billy the Kid. These are just some of the many character alive today through folktales. A goldmine for students, storytellers, and general readers, this massive work gives easy access to the stories and legends that have captivated us for generations and continue to influence film, television, literature, and popular culture. The most ambitious undertaking of its kind, this collection conveniently groups American folktales by region and includes common and less familiar ...

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Overview

Paul Bunyan, Br'er Rabbit, Bluebeard, and Billy the Kid. These are just some of the many character alive today through folktales. A goldmine for students, storytellers, and general readers, this massive work gives easy access to the stories and legends that have captivated us for generations and continue to influence film, television, literature, and popular culture. The most ambitious undertaking of its kind, this collection conveniently groups American folktales by region and includes common and less familiar stories from a wide range of ethnic traditions. It also provides a generous sampling of electronic lore circulating on the Internet. Introductions, notes, appendices, and other helpful aids cover the fascinating background of these tales and bring them alive for students of history, literature, social studies, and the arts.

Included are selections from various types of tales, such as legend, joke, tall tale, personal narrative, and myth, along with a generous sampling of electronic lore circulating on the Internet. Introductions, notes, appendices, and other aids link the tales to their origins and afterlives, so that students in social studies classes can learn about American history and culture, while literature students can learn about language, genres, and dialects.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The volumes are organized by general geographic regions (with the addition of the new territory of cyberspace), and common themes are cross-referenced among regions. Each region is introduced with an essay before the tales are divided into Origins, Heroes, Heroines, Tricksters and Fools, and The Powers That Be (which includes both secular and sacred tales). Each volume has its own bibliography, and there is also a general bibliography, all of which are very useful….[t]his work is a useful supplement for academic and large public libraries with an interest in folk traditions."

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Library Journal

"Following the practice, if not the explicit policy, of the America Folklore Society, Green organizes his anthology of folktales by geographical regions. The jokes, folktales, legends, myths, and personal experiences are designed to provide access to the range of narrative genres for educators, students, and researchers who require examples to illustrate these genres. For each narrative, he identifies the tradition bearer, literary source, date, original location, and national origin to the extent that they are known. The four volumes tramp from the northeast to the northwest, and there they hop aboard that old cyberspace to finish the trip. They are paged and referenced separately, but the cumulative index in each volume facilitates the comparison of variants in different regions."

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Reference & Research Book News

"[T]he only multivolume set organized along regional lines that is accessible to students and available to libraries, and it will be a useful addition to college and university libraries where students are seeking accessible information on regional folklore, as well as to large public libraries needing a single source for this type of information."

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Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin

"A wide range of American folklore is represented in this multivolume collection designed for students, teachers, storytellers, and anyone interested in this aspect of U.S. history and culture….While Native American tales dominate and are identified by tribe, the collection is well balanced, with a significant presence of African-American, Latino, and European-American tales. The editor's decision to incorporate tales from the Caribbean into the volume on the American South is a wise choice to acknowledge the cross-fertilization….One of this collection's most significant contributions is its section on folktales in cyberspace, where one can see that despite technological changes, there is remarkable consistency in the structure and themes of folk stories. This collection is recommended for academic and large public library collections, regional and state libraries, and smaller libraries with a special interest in American folklore."

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Multicultural Review

"This work organizes folktales by region rather than by ethnicity or cultural group, and then by theme….The stories illustrate how a region shapes its peoples' attitudes. Entry notes list the source, date, and national origin. Also provided, where applicable, is information on which motif the tale adheres to and its number in standard folktale classifications. For example, some tales are variants of the Beauty and the Beast story, AT425C. The Cyberspace section is an unusual feature. This collection of notable e-mail and early Web hoaxes, tall tales, and other stories involving American companies and people demonstrates how the Internet has allowed Americans to continue storytelling in a new forum. While far from a complete survey of the nation's folktales, American Folktales presents a new way of looking at them. High schools serving students doing advanced research will want to consider this collection."

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School Library Journal

"For each folktale, the title and tradition bearer are given, the source, the date, the original source and the national origin. An opening paragraph relates to such things as an explanation of the legend, a comment variant of Beauty and the Beast and motif. This has any number of applications in high school, from drama classes with students telling folktales to a comparison of the folktale to a study of geography matching the tale to reality. Also, comparisons of the different motifs in tales across Indian tribes could be discussed. High school librarians should tell their elementary counterparts about this reference, and offer to let them use it."

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GALE Reference for Students

"This set offers a wonderful sampling of American regional folklore, which will be valuable to researchers, storytellers, older students with an interest in the subject, browsers, and teachers of all grade levels."

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VOYA

"The four-volume Greenwood Library of American Folktales offers readers and researchers an opportunity to enjoy and contemplate an array of narratives that have played a large part in shaping our nation's collective identity. . . . The Greenwood Library of American Folktales will have a place in academic libraries and in larger public libraries with a concentration of material in folklore and narrative."

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Western Folklore

VOYA - Florence H. Munat
Using the premise established by the American Folklore Society-that human experience and thus folklore is primarily influenced by geographic locale-Green organizes this handsome resource by region. A volume on folktales, personal narratives, tall tales, jokes, myths, and legends from the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic precedes another on similar materials from the South and the Caribbean. Volume Three covers the Southwest, Plains and Plateaus, and the West, with Volume Four covering the Northwest and offering a fascinating section on Cyberspace. Forwarded e-mails about hoaxes and other stories circulating on the Internet are treated as a new, region-less type of folklore in this section. Each volume begins with a topographical and anthropological description of the region, followed by folkloric materials grouped as Origins; Heroes, Heroines, Tricksters, and Fools; and The Powers That Be (Sacred and Secular). Original sources (e.g., Native American tribe), published sources (if known), and national origins (e.g., German American) are listed, and extant variants are given. Although not exhaustive, this set offers a wonderful sampling of American regional folklore, which will be valuable to researchers, storytellers, older students with an interest in the subject, browsers, and teachers of all grade levels. Each volume contains its own bibliography, plus a cumulative bibliography and cumulative index. The text is readable, with wide margins and generous leading, but there are no illustrations. Although many entries derive from Native American sources, others come from other ethnic groups, such as African American, Cajun, European American, Hawaiian, and Anglo American. Reviewer:Florence H. Munat
Library Journal
Editor Green (Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, and Art) notes that this four-volume set "is designed to facilitate access to a range of traditional narrative genres" for those requiring "examples to illustrate and comprehend the abstract definitions commonly supplied by the standard reference works in folklore." An effort was made to include the earliest to the most recently collected stories, but the majority of tales are drawn from the golden age (the late 19th to mid-20th centuries) of regional collections in the United States, with The Journal of American Folkloreand the Library of Congress being the primary collections consulted for the set. Each of the more than 750 folktales, ranging in length from half a page to three pages, is preceded by a head note that includes the tradition bearer, ethnic and regional background, and explanations of other elements that may affect the local teller or listeners. Editing was done in many cases to make the tales more easily understood by contemporary readers, and each volume features examples of the original versions of tales that were heavily modified. The volumes are organized by general geographic regions (with the addition of the new territory of cyberspace), and common themes are cross-referenced among regions. Each region is introduced with an essay before the tales are divided into "Origins," "Heroes, Heroines, Tricksters and Fools," and "The Powers That Be" (which includes both secular and sacred tales). Each volume has its own bibliography, and there is also a general bibliography, all of which are very useful.
—Mary Morgan Smith
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313337727
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Pages: 1592
  • Product dimensions: 7.75 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 5.50 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS A. GREEN is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Texas A&M University. His many books include Martial Arts in the Modern World (Praeger, 2003), Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia (2001), Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, and Art (1997), and The Language of Riddles: New Perspectives (1984).

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Table of Contents

Volume I

Introduction

Preface

Suggested Readings

Appendix: Original Versions

Bibliography to Volume One

Volume II

Introduction: The South and Caribbean Continuities

Suggested Readings

Appendix

Original Versions

Bibliography to Volume Two

Volume III

Introduction: West

Suggested Readings

Bibliography

Volume IV

Introduction: Northwest

Suggested Readings

Appendices

Glossary

Bibliography

General Bibliography

Index

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