Oedipus: A Folklore Casebook

Overview

Classicist Lowell Edmunds and folklorist Alan Dundes both note that ?the Oedipus tale is not likely to ever fade from view in Western civilization, [as] the tale continues to pack a critical family drama into a timeless form.? Looking beyond the story related in Sophocles? drama?the ancient Theban myth of the son who unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother?Oedipus: A Folklore Casebook examines variations of the tale from Africa and South America to Eastern Europe and the Pacific. Taking sociological, ...

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Oedipus: A Folklore Casebook

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Overview

Classicist Lowell Edmunds and folklorist Alan Dundes both note that “the Oedipus tale is not likely to ever fade from view in Western civilization, [as] the tale continues to pack a critical family drama into a timeless form.” Looking beyond the story related in Sophocles’ drama—the ancient Theban myth of the son who unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother—Oedipus: A Folklore Casebook examines variations of the tale from Africa and South America to Eastern Europe and the Pacific. Taking sociological, psychological, anthropological, and structuralist perspectives, the nineteen essays reveal the complexities and multiple meanings of this centuries-old tale.
    In addition to the well-known interpretations of the Oedipus myth by Sigmund Freud and James Frazer, this casebook includes insightful selections by an international group of scholars. Essays on a Serbian Oedipus legend by Friedrich Krauss and on a Gypsy version by Mirella Karpati, for example, stress the psychological stages of atonement after the Oedipus figure learns the truth about his actions. Anthropologist Melford E. Spiro investigates the myth’s appearance in Burma and the significance of the mother’s identification with the dragon (the sphinx figure). Vladimir Propp’s essay, translated into English for the first time, and Lowell Edmunds’s theoretical review discuss the relation of the Oedipus story to the larger study of folklore. The result is a comprehensive and fascinating casebook for students of folklore, classical mythology, anthropology, and sociology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Classicist Edmunds and folklorist Dundes provide a superb anthology.”—Robert A. Segal, Religious Studies Review
Booknews
Essays translated from articles originally written in French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, and Russian detail oral tales from many cultures having the same story line and themes as the ancient Oedipus legend. They consider the possible relationships between modern oral and both medieval and classical literary versions, and look at 20th- century interpretation of the Sophoclean version of the narrative by Freud. No index. Paper edition (unseen), $17.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299148508
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1995
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lowell Edmunds is professor of classics at Rutgers University. He is the author of many books including Myth in Homer: A Handbook and Approaches to Greek Mythology.  Alan Dundes is professor of folklore and anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. His other casebooks published by the University of Wisconsin Press include Folk Law, The Cockfight, The Evil Eye, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and The Blood Libel Legend. He is also the author of Parsing through Customs: Essays by a Freudian Folklorist.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Oedipus Rex in Albania 3
The Oedipus Legend in South Slavic Folk Tradition 10
An Oedipus Myth in Gypsy Tradition 23
The Legend of Oedipus 28
Oedipus in Alur Folklore 35
Oedipus in Bushman Folklore 39
Oedipus in Papuan Folklore 43
The Dragon of Tagaung 47
Oedipus-Type Tales in Oceania 56
Oedipus in the Light of Folklore 76
Is the Legend of Oedipus a Folktale? 122
On the Oedipus Myth 133
The Sphinx in the Oedipus Legend 147
Freud on Oedipus 174
Oedipus and Erichthonius: Some Observations of Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic Order 179
Cu-chulainn and the Origin of Totemism 197
The Oedipus Complex in Burma 203
Why Oedipus Killed Laius: A Note on the Complementary Oedipus Complex in Greek Drama 215
The Indian Oedipus 234
Suggestions for Further Reading on Oedipus: A Selected Bibliography 265
Bibliographical Addendum 271
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