The Oxford Companion to Australian Folklore

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Oxford University Press, 1993 - Australia - 381 pages
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One of the best ways to ascertain a nation's character is to examine its informal or unofficial culture - its folklore. Australians' sense of nationality is defined not merely in relation to the places they inhabit and the careers they pursue, but also via the slang and languages they speak, the jokes and yarns they exchange, the objects they make, the way they behave towards one another, and the games they play. As Australia approaches the centenary of Federation, it is timely that questions should be asked about the nature of the Australian identity in a changing, urbanized, multicultural society. The Oxford Companion to Australian Folklore addresses these questions and illustrates the range and importance of Australia's folkloric heritage. Some of Australia's best-known writers, folklorists and academics have contributed articles to the Companion. Entries range from the descriptive (Gumleaf playing) to the analytical (Popular culture and folklore); from country halls to graffiti to archival preservation of audio tapes; from the bunyip to rebetika (Greek blues); from chain letters to patchwork quilts and Wagga rugs. Also included are biographies of notables in the folklore field, and short entries on myths and heroes such as Ned Kelly, Henry Lawson, 'The Wild Colonial Boy' and 'The Dog on the Tucker Box'. Many entries contain references for those wishing to read further on a particular topic, and an appendix supplies bibliographic guidance for researchers. Until recently, Australia was one of the few countries in the world that tended to disregard the collection, preservation, study and recognition of its folk heritage and its contemporary folklore. As well as being an invaluablereference for students, families and cultural historians, The Oxford Companion to Australian Folklore is a milestone in the scholarship of Australian folklore.

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