A Dictionary of English Folklore
With 1250 entries ranging from dragons to Mother Goose, May Day to Michaelmas, this enchanting dictionary unfurls the colorful history behind the holidays, customs, legends, and superstitious beliefs of England.
Ever wonder why we kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas or think a rabbit's foot brings good luck? Two folklore authorities provide reliable and often surprising answers to these and other curiosities that have shaped daily life in England for centuries. They explore the festivals and past celebrations of the English calendar, from St. Andrews Day and its tradition of drunkenness and cross-dressing to Twelfth Night and its king and queen cake. They also provide concise portraits of real and legendary characters that populate the public memory, including Robin Hood, The Brothers Grimm, Lady Godiva, Puck, and The Sandman. Fairies, mermaids, hobgoblins, and changelings are but a few of the supernatural forces surveyed here. However, as folklore encompasses the mundane as well as the fantastic, numerous other entries illuminate the significance of colors, numbers, flowers, animals, and household objects. Learn the curious history behind our distrust of the "black sheep," popular credence in "wishbone" wishes, folk cures for nosebleeds and warts, and persistent old wives' tales. In addition to ancient and medieval folklore, you will find many contemporary urban legends, e.g., the vanishing hitchhiker--a spooky figure seen ominously by travelers in Britain and the United States--and the Tooth Fairy.
An entertaining resource, The Dictionary of English Folklore will be a fascinating companion for readers of English literature, history, cultural studies, and fantasy.
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A dictionary of English folkloreUser Review - Book Verdict
Containing more than 1200 alphabetically arranged entries, this folklore dictionary spans familiar beliefs, from the earliest cultural traditions to more familiar subjects, such as Mother Goose. 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. Everyday lore is fully explored, from the Tooth Fairy and Godiva to the modern tales of wonderment such as "The Vanishing Hitchhiker." Fairies, mermaids, hobgoblins, and changelings are examples of the supernatural forces surveyed. The historical foundations of folk cures and old wives' tales, as well as classic legendary characters (e.g., Robin Hood) are identified and traced. Other topics include festivals, past and present, that are celebrated throughout English literature, as well as children's games, "fakelore," cross-dressing, mumming, and more. 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. The one drawback to this solidly researched work is its exclusively British approach, which will limit its appeal to American readers. Students and researchers, however, will find it valuable. Recommended for inclusive and extensive library collections.DRichard K. Burns, MSLS, Hatboro, PA ...
Review: A Dictionary of English FolkloreUser Review - Goodreads
Interesting to browse, but the areas I know something about I felt were very basically explained, as if for children or slow adults, so although I learned some new things it was overall rather unsatisfying.
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