A Dictionary of English Folklore (Oxford Paperback Reference)

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9780198607663: A Dictionary of English Folklore (Oxford Paperback Reference)
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Are there any legends about cats? Is Cinderella an English story? What is a Mumming Play? The subject of folklore covers an extremely wide field, with connections to virtually every aspect of life. It ranges from the bizarre to the seemingly mundane. Similarly, folklore is as much a feature of the modern technological age as the ancient world, of every part of the country, both urban and rural, and of every age group and occupation. Containing 1,250 entries, from dragons to Mother Goose, May Day to Michaelmas, this reference work is an absorbing and entertaining guide to English folklore. Aimed at a broad general readership, the dictionary provides an authoritative reference source on such legendary characters as The Sandman, Jack the Giant Killer, and Robin Hood, and gives entertaining and informative explanations of a wide range of subjects in folklore, from nosebleeds and wishbones to cats and hot cross buns. 'From an exemplary, clear, and concise introduction to an admirably comprehensive, yet selective, bibliography, but above all from more than 1,250 A-Z entries in between, it is good to know that Oxford University Press can still commission and publish new standard reference titles. .. A welcome degree of scholarly rigour...coverage is excellent...the quallity of the entries is also outstanding...It is all very readable, concise, and clear throughout - another one of those reference works one can wish to read from cover to cover...a huge amount of fascinating material in this clearly and attractively designed, deceptively concise and reasonably priced volume. It becomes at once a new standard reference book in its field...As such it belongs in any reference collection in or about England, and any collection dealing with folklore.' Library Review

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Popular opinion might side with academic prejudice in thinking that there is hardly such a thing as English folklore, and certainly nothing worth studying--just a few superannuated old customs such as morris dancing. Certainly nothing to compare with the rich folk heritage of the Celtic countries. A Dictionary of English Folklore triumphantly proves that viewpoint wrong. It is a wonderful book--lively, authoritative and packed with fascinating information. It both collates the work of many scholars over the last 150 years, and establishes a new ground level for research and comment in the future.

Bot of the authors are leading folklorists who know the field inside out, and readers can have confidence that their views are based on the most reliable sources. They--sometimes reluctantly--debunk various common misconceptions about the origin and meaning of folk customs and superstitions. "Ring-a-ring-a-roses" is not anything to do with the Great Plague--the first English versions were recorded in the 1880s; the New Year ceremony in Allendale, Northumberland, in which the men march through the village with blazing tar barrels, is not a pagan custom--it only started in 1858.

By displacing romantic fancies with hard facts the authors do not take the fun out of their subject. Instead, they bring out with shining clarity the vitality of folklore, and its remarkable ability to adapt to new means of transmission such as the Internet. There are entries here on all kinds of ancient folk customs such as well dressing and harvest festivals, but also on photocopylore, the Tooth Fairy and the folklore of sex.

This is an indispensable reference book that does for English folklore what Jan Harold Brunvand's American Folklore: An Encyclopedia did for that of the USA--providing a reliable summary of modern scholarship in a form that is itself entertaining and provocative. --Neil Philip

Review:

"The authors, esteemed British folklore experts with many publications to their credit, include a broad range of oral genres, calendar customs, festivals, life-cycle customs, and supernatural and superstitious beliefs.... All are provided with dependable information and references, and the many See and See Also citations add considerably to the book's richness as a reference source."--Library Journal "A unique contribution to the body of work about folklore."--Booklist "Superb...every time I dip into it I find myself gripped by item after item that I had no intention of reading."--Richard Morrison, The Times [London] "The authors, esteemed British folklore experts with many publications to their credit, include a broad range of oral genres, calendar customs, festivals, life-cycle customs, and supernatural and superstitious beliefs.... All are provided with dependable information and references, and the many See and See Also citations add considerably to the book's richness as a reference source."--Library Journal "A unique contribution to the body of work about folklore."--Booklist "Superb...every time I dip into it I find myself gripped by item after item that I had no intention of reading."--Richard Morrison, The Times [London] "The authors, esteemed British folklore experts with many publications to their credit, include a broad range of oral genres, calendar customs, festivals, life-cycle customs, and supernatural and superstitious beliefs.... All are provided with dependable information and references, and the many See and See Also citations add considerably to the book's richness as a reference source."--Library Journal "A unique contribution to the body of work about folklore."--Booklist "Superb...every time I dip into it I find myself gripped by item after item that I had no intention of reading."--Richard Morrison, The Times [London] "The authors, esteemed British folklore experts with many publications to their credit, include a broad range of oral genres, calendar customs, festivals, life-cycle customs, and supernatural and superstitious beliefs.... All are provided with dependable information and references, and the many See and See Also citations add considerably to the book's richness as a reference source."--Library Journal "A unique contribution to the body of work about folklore."--Booklist "Superb...every time I dip into it I find myself gripped by item after item that I had no intention of reading."--Richard Morrison, The Times [London]

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780192100191: A Dictionary of English Folklore

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ISBN 10:  019210019X ISBN 13:  9780192100191
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2000
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9780198603986: A Dictionary of English Folklore (Oxford Paperback Reference)

Oxford..., 2001
Softcover

9780199691043: A DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH FOLKLORE.

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Softcover

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