Hayes shows that the acquisition of knowledge and the ownership of books have not displaced folklore but instead have given rise to new beliefs and superstitions. Some books have generated new proverbs; others have fostered their own legends. Occasionally the book has served as an important motif in folklore, and in one folk genrethe flyleaf rhymethe book itself has become the place where folklore occurs, thus indicating a lively interaction between folk, print, and manuscript culture.
The author begins by examining the tradition of the Volksbuchercheaply printed books, often concerned with the occult, whose powers are said to transcend the written text. Hayes looks in depth at one particular VolksbuchThe Sixth and Seventh Books of Mosesand proceeds, in subsequent chapters, to discuss a variety of folktales and legends, placing them within the context of book culture and the history of education. He closes with an examination of flyleaf rhymes, the little verses that book owners have inscribed in their books, and considers what they reveal about the identity of the inscribers as well as about attitudes toward book lending, book borrowing, and the circulation of knowledge.
Solidly researched and venturing into areas long neglected by scholars. Folklore and Book Culture is a work that will engage not only folklorists but historians and literary scholars as well.
|Publisher:||Wipf & Stock Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.39(d)|
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“The book’s scholarship is impressive, and the details are delicious. . . . All-but-anonymous ordinary book owners of bygone days speak to us with quotidian concerns and sometimes touching wryness. . . . Folklore and Book Culture ranges adeptly over other absorbing materials from individual items of folklore to obscure and telling facts about early-modern book marketing or such well-known figures as Thomas Jefferson.”
—Dianne Dugaw, University of Oregon