Mythical Trickster Figures; Contours, Contexts, and Criticisms / Edition 1

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Mythical Trickster Figures is the first substantial collection of essays about the trickster figure since Paul Radin's influential 1955 publication of The Trickster. Contributions by leading scholars treat a wide range of manifestations of this mischievous character, ranging from the Coyote of the American Southwest to such African figures as Eshu-Elegba and Ananse, the Japanese Susa-no-o, the Greek Hermes, Christian adaptations of Saint Peter, and examples found in contemporary American fiction and drama. Original essays by authors known for their work on trickster figures provide resources for comprehending the nature of the phenomenon and challenge some previous interpretations. The contributors include T.O. Beidelman, Anne Doueihi, Robert S. Ellwood, Laura Makarius, Robert D. Pelton, Mac Linscott Ricketts, Thomas J. Steele, S.J., Christopher Vecsey, as well as the editors. Several contributors deconstruct earlier comparativist works in favor of culture-specific analysis and provide for a grasp of the transcultural qualities of the trickster myths and figures that appear in the local mythologies of different societies. The many humorous trickster stories included are fascinating in themselves, and Hynes and Doty highlight the wide range of features of the trickster - the figure whose comic appearance often signifies that the most serious cultural values are being both challenged and enforced. Mythical Trickster Figures moves away from earlier studies that considered the figure merely "primitive" or located in the basement of the human psyche suggesting instead that the spirit of metaplay is crucial to human and social maturation.
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Editorial Reviews

Most cultures have some kind of "trickster figure." This collection of scholarly essays examines the diverse manifestations and uses of the trickster phenomenon across a wide range of cultures. Through exploring the complex structures of trickster myths, a variety of tricksters--from the coyote of the American Southwest to the Greek Hermes--are described and interpreted. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817308575
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Series: Publications of the American Dialect Society Series, #79
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 261
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Permissions
1 Introducing the Fascinating and Perplexing Trickster Figure 1
2 Historical Overview of Theoretical Issues: The Problem of the Trickster 13
3 Mapping the Characteristics of Mythic Tricksters: A Heuristic Guide 33
4 A Lifetime of Trouble-Making: Hermes as Trickster 46
5 The Myth of the Trickster: The Necessary Breaker of Taboos 66
6 The Shaman and the Trickster 87
7 The Exception Who Proves the Rules: Ananse the Akan Trickster 106
8 West African Tricksters: Web of Purpose, Dance of Delight 122
9 A Japanese Mythic Trickster Figure: Susa-no-o 141
10 Saint Peter: Apostle Transfigured Into Trickster 159
11 The Moral Imagination of the Kaguru: Some Thoughts on Tricksters, Translation and Comparative Analysis 174
12 Inhabiting the Space Between Discourse and Story in Trickster Narratives 193
13 Inconclusive Conclusions: Tricksters - Metaplayers and Revealers 202
Notes 219
Bibliography 233
Contributors 259
Index 263
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