American Folklore: An Encyclopedia (Garland Reference by Jan Harold Brunvand

By Jan Harold Brunvand

Comprises over 500 articlesRanging over foodways and folksongs, quiltmaking and laptop lore, Pecos invoice, Butch Cassidy, and Elvis sightings, greater than 500 articles highlight people literature, song, and crafts activities and vacation trips tall stories and mythical figures genres and types scholarly ways and theories areas and ethnic teams performers and creditors writers and students spiritual ideals and practices. The alphabetically prepared entries fluctuate from concise definitions to precise surveys, each one followed via a quick, updated bibliography.

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Extra resources for American Folklore: An Encyclopedia (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities)

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The founders of the American Folklore Society connected Negro folklore with the institution of slavery. They rationalized that efforts to collect Negro folklore must be undertaken before all of those who had experienced slavery died. The presumption seems to have been that traces of slave tradition would not be evident in the repertoires of the descendents of slaves. But even before the formation of the American Folklore Society, African American folklore had aroused the interest of a few talented persons.

There the folk explanation for the floor plan maintains that if the spirit of an ancestor wanders into the home, it will wander out the other side without getting trapped within. Many quilts made by African American women and men vary a great deal from other American quilts. Like many kinds of West African textiles, long, rectangular strips dominate many of the quilts. Conventional symmetry in which a shape or a color is balanced on one side by the same American folklore 16 shape or color on the other seems to be less important to African American quilters than to other quilters.

Academic legends (stories told as true, but not by someone who was an eyewitness) recall prudish deans of the 1950s who prohibited red dresses and patent leather shoes (responding to overzealous interpretations of in loco parentis), obscene or crazy comments by professors in their classes, epic pranks (like the dead horse in the fraternity cellar), and spectacular feats of cheating on final examinations. Professorial arrogance is parodied in the legend of the lecturer who notices most of his students using tape recorders so they won’t have to take notes; he responds by sending a graduate assistant to play tapes to them so he will not have to lecture.

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