Cover image for A dictionary of folklore
Title:
A dictionary of folklore
Author:
Pickering, David, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Facts on File, Inc., [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
viii, 324 pages ; 24 cm.
General Note:
"Includes more than 1,000 A-Z entries on the central themes and traditions of world folklore"--Flyleaf.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780816042500
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library GR35 .P5 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
Searching...
Clarence Library GR35 .P5 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material
Searching...
Hamburg Library GR35 .P5 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Kenmore Library GR35 .P5 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Audubon Library GR35 .P5 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

From dragons, fairies, giants, and trolls to Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood, and UFOs, A Dictionary of Folklore is an illuminating and comprehensive one-volume guide to the central themes and traditions of world folklore from ancient times to the present day. More than 1,000 A-to-Z entries emphasize the social and oral traditions of the British Isles, Western Europe, and North America, with selective coverage of legends and lore from Africa, India, South America, Asia, and other parts of the world.

Entries include: Folkloric associations of superstitions, dreams, and myths: the evil eye, first-footing, the Fountain of Youth, and more Beliefs and remedies linked with plants, birds, and animals: dolphins, doves, eagles, seals, garlic, holly, leeks, and more Popular heroes and folkloric characters: Charlemagne, Paul Bunyan, Don Juan, Hiawatha, Johnny Appleseed, Merlin, The Lady of the Lake, and more Fabulous beasts and beings: dragons, elves, fairies, giants, leprechauns, mermaids, unicorns, and more Customs, rituals, and festivals surrounding such events as birth, marriage, and death: All Hallow's Eve (Halloween), Christmas, Easter, the Feast of Fools, Groundhog Day, and more Folkloric origins of nursery rhymes, proverbs, and sayings: Mother Goose, Aesop's Fables, "Abracadabra," and "Open Sesame", and more. Whether the topic is the mythology of mermaids or the holiday custom of the mistletoe kiss, students, researchers, and general readers will find it in this extraordinary general reference to world folklore.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The objectives of this approximately 1,000-entry guide, first published in Great Britain as The Cassell Dictionary of Folklore, are to examine origins of beliefs, look at lives of famous characters, provide background on specific tales, and cover a wide range of subjects, from the mythology of real and magic creatures to rituals. Pickering has edited several other works on fable, proverbs, and superstitions. The alphabetically arranged entries are readable and concisely written, with careful cross-referencing. They include "folk tales, festivals, customs, legendary heroes, old wives' tales, fabulous creatures, folk remedies, and other items of folkloric interest from many cultural traditions." Emphasis is on traditions of the British Isles, western Europe, and North America, but there is some coverage of Africa, India, South America, and other regions as well. There is interesting material on plants, animals, and superstitions surrounding these, in entries such as Beans, Bears, Pumpkin, and Robin. However, the dictionary seems very conservative, and it lacks a daring leap into current facets of folklore, such as Clarissa Estes' work on the "wild woman archetype." There are entries on some urban legends and on UFOs, but more of these modern touches would have been helpful. Also, definitions of various forms of folklore are not consistently provided. There are entries for ballad, fairy tale, proverb, riddle, and saga but not epic, fable, myth, or tall tale, to name a few. A bibliography would have made the book more valuable for students. Another one-volume work, The Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore [RBB F 1 96], includes brief information on prominent folklorists as well as a useful bibliography. The more comprehensive Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend (HarperCollins, 1984) is a standard reference source but has not been substantially revised since it first appeared in 1949^-1950. Even with its omissions, A Dictionary of Folklore would be useful in high-school, public, and academic libraries needing a convenient handbook on the topic.


Library Journal Review

Although this reference book admits to being somewhat Eurocentric, it does touch upon the folklore of Asian, African, South American, and Native American cultures as well. Pickering (Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions, Cassell Dictionary of Proverbs) provides succinct but informative entries (longer when the topic is more complex) on such subjects as herbal remedies, the superstitions connected with various gemstones, and the folklore associated with selected trees, plants, birds, and animals. He also covers the ritual tradition of holidays and festivals and the origins of proverbs and sayings. In addition, the dictionary mentions characters and heroes from selkies to Joe Magarac, fantasy beings such as sprites and pixies, and some urban myths. While making what the introduction calls only "modest" claims to comprehensiveness, this dictionary nonetheless pulls together disparate strands of information not always available in mythology sources. Cross references help locate material. Recommended for public and school libraries as a basic reference on folklore.DKatherine Kaigler-Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Prolific freelancer Pickering's dictionary, emphasizing the social and oral traditions of the British Isles, Western Europe, and North America, consists of 1,000 entries alphabetically arranged and covers topics such as folktales, folk remedies, customs, legendary heroes, the folklore origins of nursery rhymes and proverbs, fabulous creatures, and other folklore-related topics. Topics primarily historical, mythological, or sacred in nature are excluded. Books on folklore are problematic because decisions such as inclusion or exclusion of topics and authority for entries are subjective, leaving the author open to criticism; this book illustrates these issues. It lacks a topical index, which would have made it easier to discern topical and geographic patterns, and a selected bibliography, whose absence makes it difficult to investigate a specific topic or evaluate the author's sources. For example, Pickering assigns a different origin to May Day than similar but not corroborative entries in Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, ed. by Maria Leach (1949-50), and Gertrude Jobes's Dictionary of Anthology, Folklore and Symbols (3v., 1961-62). Although Pickering's entries are clear, succinct, and interesting, cross-referencing between entries is inconsistent. Pickering should be considered a starting point, to be used in conjunction with other standard titles--Funk & Wagnalls; Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, and Art, ed. by Thomas A. Green (CH, May'98); or American Folklore: An Encyclopedia, ed. by Jan Harold Brunvand (CH, Oct'96). Pickering's book was published in Great Britain as The Cassell Dictionary of Folklore. Because it is generally sound and includes entries not found in other standard sources, recommended for undergraduate and public libraries. P. Mardeusz; University of Vermont


Excerpts

Excerpts

From dragons, fairies, giants, and trolls to Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood, and UFOs, A Dictionary of Folklore is an illuminating and comprehensive one-volume guide to the central themes and traditions of world folklore from ancient times to the present day. More than 1,000 A-to-Z entries emphasize the social and oral traditions of the British Isles, Western Europe, and North America, with selective coverage of legends and lore from Africa, India, South America, Asia, and other parts of the world. Entries include: Folkloric associations of superstitions, dreams, and myths: the evil eye, first-footing, the Fountain of Youth, and more Beliefs and remedies linked with plants, birds, and animals: dolphins, doves, eagles, seals, garlic, holly, leeks, and more Popular heroes and folkloric characters: Charlemagne, Paul Bunyan, Don Juan, Hiawatha, Johnny Appleseed, Merlin, The Lady of the Lake, and more Fabulous beasts and beings: dragons, elves, fairies, giants, leprechauns, mermaids, unicorns, and more Customs, rituals, and festivals surrounding such events as birth, marriage, and death: All Hallow's Eve (Halloween), Christmas, Easter, the Feast of Fools, Groundhog Day, and more Folkloric origins of nursery rhymes, proverbs, and sayings: Mother Goose, Aesop's Fables, Abracadabra, and Open Sesame, and more. Whether the topic is the mythology of mermaids or the holiday custom of the mistletoe kiss, students, researchers, and general readers will find it in this extraordinary general reference to world folklore. Excerpted from Dictionary of Folklore by David Pickering All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Google Preview