Cover image for Folklore genres
Folklore genres
Ben-Amos, Dan.
Publication Information:
Austin : Published for the American Folklore Society by the University of Texas Press, [1976]
Physical Description:
xlv, 291 pages ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Originally published in Genre, 1969 and 1971.

Includes index.
Literary and linguistic analysis of folklore genres: Utley, F. L. Oral genres as a bridge to written literature. Lüthi, M. Aspects of the Märchen and the legend. Bynum, D. E. The generic nature of oral epic poetry. Oster, H. The blues as a genre. Scott, C. T. On defining the riddle.--The ethnography of folklore genres: Dégh, L. and Vázsonyi, A. Legend and belief. Seitel, P. Proverbs; a social use of metaphor. Toelken, B. The "pretty languages" of Yellowman; genre, mode, and texture in Navaho Coyote narratives. Hrdličková, V. Japanese professional storytellers.--The classification of folklore genres: Abrahams, R. D. The complex relations of simple forms. Ben-Amos, D. Analytical categories and ethnic genres.--A selected bibliography: (p. )
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GR40 .F64 1976 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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The essays in Folklore Genres represent development in folklore genre studies, diverging into literary, ethnographic, and taxonomic questions. The study as a whole is concerned with the concept of genre and with the history of genre theory. A selective bibliography provides a guide to analytical and theoretical works on the topic.

The literary-oriented articles conceive of folklore forms, not as the antecedents of literary genres, but as complex, symbolically rich expressions. The ethnographically oriented articles, as well as those dealing with classification problems, reveal dimensions of folklore that are often obscured from the student reading the folklore text alone. It has long been known that the written page is but a pale reproduction of the spoken word, that a tale hardly reflects the telling. The essays in this collection lead to an understanding of the forms of oral literature as multidimensional symbols of communication and to an understanding of folklore genres as systematically related conceptual categories in culture. What kinship terms are to social structure, genre terms are to folklore. Since genres constitute recognized modes of folklore speaking, their terminology and taxonomy can play a major role in the study of culture and society.

The essays were originally published in Genre (1969-1971); introduction, bibliography, and index have been added to this edition.

Table of Contents

IntroductionDan Ben-Amos
Part 1 Literary and Linguistic Analysis of Folklore Genres
1 Oral Genres as a Bridge to Written LiteratureFrancis Lee Utley
2 Aspects of the Märchen and the LegendMax Lüthi
3 The Generic Nature of Oral Epic PoetryDavid E. Bynum
4 The Blues as a GenreHarry Oster
5 On Defining the Riddle: The Problem of a Structural UnitCharles T. Scott
Part 2 The Ethnography of Folklore Genres
6 Legend and BeliefLinda Dégh and Andrew Vázsonyi
7 Proverbs: A Social Use of MetaphorPeter Seitel
8 The "Pretty Languages" of Yellowman: Genre, Mode, and Texture in Navaho Coyote NarrativesBarre Toelken
9 Japanese Professional StorytellersV. Hrdlicková
Part 3 The Classification of Folklore Genres
10 The Complex Relations of Simple FormsRoger D. Abrahams
11 Analytical Categories and Ethnic GenresDan Ben-Amos
Notes on the Contributors
A Selected Bibliography