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Dynamics Of Folklore

Barre Toelken

Publication Year: 1996

One of the most comprehensive and widely praised introductions to folklore ever written. Toelken's discussion of the history and meaning of folklore is delivered in straightforward language, easily understood definitions, and a wealth of insightful and entertaining examples.

Toelken emphasizes dynamism and variety in the vast array of folk expressions he examines, from "the biology of folklore," to occupational and ethnic lore, food ways, holidays, personal experience narratives, ballads, myths, proverbs, jokes, crafts, and others. Chapters are followed by bibliographical essays, and over 100 photographs illustrate the text. This new edition is accessible to all levels of folklore study and an essential text for classroom instruction.

Published by: Utah State University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xiv

...textbooks, to pay more attention to the items of folklore than to the live processes by and through which folklore is produced. This led at least one folklorist to lament that folklore scholarship tended to "dehumanize" folklore. Briefly put, this book is an attempt to humanize folklore by urging an approach to folklore study that stresses "the folk" and the dynamics of their...

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Introduction: Into Folkloristics with Gun and Camera

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pp. 1-18

...perhaps be surprised to discover that the scholarly discussion of the subject has been taking place for over two hundred years, mostly among people who have approached it from vantage points related to other interests and disciplines: language, religion, literature, anthropology, history, and even nostalgia and something close to ancestor worship. Indeed, the famous story of the blind men...

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1. The Folklore Process

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pp. 19-54

...the combined forces of technology, science, television, religion, urbanization, and creeping literacy, we prefer our closest cultural associations as the basis for learning about life's normalities and transmitting important observations and expressions. From the childhood rhythms of "Patty Cake" to the joy of humorous graces ("Good bread, good meat, good God, let's eat") to the imagined...

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2. Dynamics of the Folk Group

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pp. 55-116

...the active traditional moments that occur between and among people. What motivates customary (i.e., not biological) human interactions? How do they start? When do they cease? How are they received and responded to? Human life is obviously affected by dynamics of many kinds. Of interest to the folklorist and anthropologist are those culturally meaningful dynamics that are known...

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3. The Folk Performance

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pp. 117-156

...without referring to traditional events or performances, vernacular expressions articulated among members of a high context group. Just as the dynamics discussed in Chapter 2 are only hypothetical if nothing happens, so a traditional performance or event tells us little if it does not occur in a traditional framework. For this reason, John Miles Foley calls performance "the enabling event"...

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4. Dimensions of the Folk Event

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pp. 157-182

...often carefully developed, pose that relates a performer to an audience when a traditional expression takes place. Now we move to focus on the event itself: When did it start? How and why did it come about? What were its principal parts? And when did it end? Essentially, a traditional event is a discrete set of actions and expressions that are motivated and directed more by group taste...

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5. Aesthetics and Repertoire

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pp. 183-240

...principal parts, just as a linguist cannot talk about language without a vocabulary of terms that describe words, sounds, and meaning, so the folklorist does not discuss folklore without a sound knowledge of its genres. And just as some doctors specialize in ears, or digestive tract, or feet, or in single processes like childbirth, and as linguists specialize in verbs, sounds, or whole languages, so do...

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6. Folklore and Connotation

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pp. 241-262

...somewhat overdressed and proclaiming loud her interest in and abilities at sex, she is described as riding along on a religious pilgrimage with one eye open for a potential husband. When Chaucer says, "She had passed many a foreign stream" and "She knew a lot about wandering by the way," we feel fairly secure...

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7. Folklore and Cultural Worldview

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pp. 263-314

...its relation to the world around it. While earlier students of culture were certain that similar conditions would impress any human eye and soul in similar ways even in widely separated circumstances, there is now evidence to the contrary; that is, objective reality (as we like to call it) actually varies widely according to the viewer's means of perceiving it. Often those means are affected by cultural...

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8. Surrounded by Folklore

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pp. 315-346

...everyone must be a folklorist; some are professionals at it. To put it another way, although some people choose to study folklore and obtain the training necessary in that profession, all of us, to one extent or another, must learn, collect, and use folklore as a natural consequence of being members of close groups. The mill worker needs to learn and use the hand signals that allow...

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9. Folklore Research

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pp. 347-388

...persons may not become directly involved in folklore research, they should find the details of fieldwork directly related to their understanding of how the dynamic expressions of folklore become available, intellectually palpable, to audiences outside traditional habitats. Were it not for folklore field research, there would be little of substance for folklorists or their students to discuss....

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10. Applications of Folklore

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pp. 389-432

...for those who believe academic scholarship and research ought to be untainted by practical considerations, the concept has had the same ring that "applied art" or "applied literature" might have. It seems to smack of job rather than profession, of problem solving rather than theoretical speculation, of the immediate live world rather than the library. It stresses doing more than thinking and talking...


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pp. 433-439

E-ISBN-13: 9780874213256
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874212037

Publication Year: 1996