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Told in an elegant style, Jean de la Fontaines (1621-95) charming animal fables depict sly foxes and scheming cats, vain birds and greedy wolves, all of which subtly express his penetrating insights into French society and the beasts found in all of us. Norman R. Shapiro has been translating La Fontaines fables for over twenty years, capturing the original works lively mix of plain and archaic language. This newly complete translation is destined to set the English standard for this work
The folktales of A. N. Afanas’ev represent the largest single collection of folktales in any European language and perhaps in the world. Widely regarded as the Russian Grimm, Afanas’ev collected folktales from throughout the Russian Empire in what are now regarded as the three East Slavic languages, Byelorusian, Russian, and Ukrainian. The result of his own collecting, the collecting of friends and correspondents, and in a few cases his publishing of works from earlier and forgotten collections is truly phenomenal. In his lifetime, Afanas’ev published more than 575 tales in his most popular and best known work, Narodnye russkie skazki. In addition to this basic collection he prepared a volume of Russian legends, many on religious themes, an anthology of mildly obscene tales, and voluminous writings on Slavic folk life and Slavic mythology. His works were subject to the strict censorship of ecclesiastical and state authorities that lasted until the demise of the Soviet Union at the end of the twentieth century. Overwhelmingly, his particular emendations were of a stylistic nature, while those of the censors mostly concerned content. The censored tales are generally not included.
Up to now, there has been no complete English-language version of the Russian folktales of Afanas’ev. This translation is based on L. G. Barag and N. V. Novikov’s edition (Moscow: Nauka, 1984–1986), widely regarded as the authoritative edition. The present edition includes commentaries to each tale as well as its international classification number.
The Living Ballad of Mexico's Western Coast
This compilation of ballads from the Mexican states of Guerrero and Oaxaca documents one of the world’s great traditions of heroic song, a tradition that has thrived continuously for the last hundred years. The 107 corridos presented here, gathered during ethnographic research over a period of twenty-five years in settlements on Mexico’s Costa Chica and Costa Grande, offer a window into the ethos of heroism among the cultures of coastal West Mexico, a region that has been plagued by recurrent cycles of violence. /p>
John Holmes McDowell presents a richly annotated field collection of corridos, accompanied by musical scores and transcriptions and translations of lyrics. In addition to his interpretation of the corridos’ depiction of violence and masculinity, McDowell situates the songs in historical and performance contexts, illuminating the Afro-mestizo influence in this distinctive population.
Performing Identities through Dress
What does it mean to people around the world to put on costumes to celebrate their heritage, reenact historic events, assume a role on stage, or participate in Halloween or Carnival? Self-consciously set apart from everyday dress, costume marks the divide between ordinary and extraordinary settings and enables the wearer to project a different self or special identity. Pravina Shukla offers richly detailed case studies from the United States, Brazil, and Sweden to show how individuals use costumes for social communication and to express facets of their personalities.
Legends and Lore in Texas
This Publication of the Texas Folklore Society has something for everyone. The first section features a good bit of occupational lore, including articles on cowboys—both legendary ones and the relatively unknown men who worked their trade day by day wherever they could. You’ll also find a unique, personal look at a famous outlaw and learn about a teacher’s passion for encouraging her students to discover their own family culture, as well as unusual weddings, somewhat questionable ways to fish, and one woman’s love affair with a bull. The backbone of the PTFS series has always been miscellanies—diverse examinations of the many types of lore found throughout Texas and the Southwest. These books offer a glimpse of what goes on at our annual meetings, as the best of the papers presented are frequently selected for our publications. Of course, the presentations are only a part of what the Society does at the meetings, but reading these publications offers insight into our members’ interests in everything from bikers and pioneers of Tejana music to serial killers and simple folk from small-town Texas. These works also suggest the importance of the “telling of the tale,” with an emphasis on oral tradition, as well as some of the customs we share. All of these things together— the focus on tradition at our meetings, the fellowship among members, and the diversity of our research—are what sustain the Texas Folklore Society.
The Making and Marketing of Oaxacan Wood Carvings
Since the mid-1980s, whimsical, brightly colored wood carvings from the Mexican state of Oaxaca have found their way into gift shops and private homes across the United States and Europe, as Western consumers seek to connect with the authenticity and tradition represented by indigenous folk arts. Ironically, however, the Oaxacan wood carvings are not a traditional folk art. Invented in the mid-twentieth century by non-Indian Mexican artisans for the tourist market, their appeal flows as much from intercultural miscommunication as from their intrinsic artistic merit. In this beautifully illustrated book, Michael Chibnik offers the first in-depth look at the international trade in Oaxacan wood carvings, including their history, production, marketing, and cultural representations. Drawing on interviews he conducted in the carving communities and among wholesalers, retailers, and consumers, he follows the entire production and consumption cycle, from the harvesting of copal wood to the final purchase of the finished piece. Along the way, he describes how and why this "invented tradition" has been promoted as a "Zapotec Indian" craft and explores its similarities with other local crafts with longer histories. He also fully discusses the effects on local communities of participating in the global market, concluding that the trade in Oaxacan wood carvings is an almost paradigmatic case study of globalization.
Global in scope and multidisciplinary in approach, Creolization as Cultural Creativity explores the expressive forms and performances that come into being when cultures encounter one another. Creolization is presented as a powerful marker of identity in the postcolonial creole societies of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the southwest Indian Ocean region, as well as a universal process that can occur anywhere cultures come into contact.
An extraordinary number of cultures from Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, the southern United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Réunion, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Suriname, Jamaica, and Sierra Leone are discussed in these essays.
Drawing from the disciplines of folklore, anthropology, ethnomusicology, literary studies, history, and material culture studies, essayists address theoretical dimensions of creolization and present in-depth field studies. Topics include adaptations of the Gombe drum over the course of its migration from Jamaica to West Africa; uses of "ritual piracy" involved in the appropriation of Catholic symbols by Puerto Rican brujos; the subversion of official culture and authority through playful and combative use of "creole talk" in Argentine literature and verbal arts; the mislabeling and trivialization ("toy blindness") of objects appropriated by African Americans in the American South; the strategic use of creole techniques among storytellers within the islands of the Indian Ocean; and the creolized character of New Orleans and its music. In the introductory essay the editors address both local and universal dimensions of creolization and argue for the centrality of its expressive manifestations for creolization scholarship.
William Sidney Mount and the Roots of Blackface Minstrelsy
This study examines the artworks, letters, sketchbooks, music collection, and biography of the painter William Sidney Mount (1807–1868) as a lens through which to see the multiethnic antebellum world that gave birth to blackface minstrelsy. Christopher J. Smith uses Mount's depictions of black and white vernacular fiddlers, banjo players, and dancers to open up fresh perspectives on cross-ethnic cultural transference in Northern and urban contexts, showing how rivers, waterfronts, and other sites of interracial interaction shaped musical practices by transporting musical culture from the South to the North and back. The "Africanization" of Anglo-Celtic tunes created minstrelsy's musical "creole synthesis," a body of melodic and rhythmic vocabularies, repertoires, tunes, and musical techniques that became the foundation of American popular music.
The contradance and quadrille, in their diverse forms, were the most popular, widespread, and important genres of creole Caribbean music and dance in the nineteenth century. Throughout the region they constituted sites for interaction of musicians and musical elements of different racial, social, and ethnic origins, and they became crucibles for the evolution of genres like the Cuban danzón and son, the Dominican merengue, and the Haitian mereng.
Creolizing Contradance in the Caribbean is the first book to explore this phenomenon in detail and with a pan-regional perspective. Individual chapters by respected area experts discuss the Spanish, French, and English-speaking Caribbean, covering musical and choreographic features, social dynamics, historical development and significance, placed in relation to the broader Caribbean historical context. This groundbreaking text fills a significant gap in studies of Caribbean cultural history and of social dance.