Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs

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Carl Lindahl, John McNamara, John Lindow
Oxford University Press, 2000 - Social Science - 470 pages
3 Reviews

Over a decade in the making, Medieval Folklore offers a wide-ranging guide to the lore of the Middle Ages--from the mundane to the supernatural. Definitive and lively articles focus on the great tales and traditions of the age and includes information on daily and nightly customs and activities; religious beliefs of the pagan, Christian, Muslim, and Jew; key works of oral and written literature; traditional music and art; holidays and feasts; food and drink; and plants and animals, both real and fantastical.

While most books on medieval folklore focus primarily on the West, this unique volume brings together an eclectic range of experts to treat the subject from a global perspective. Especially remarkable are the surveys of the major medieval traditions including Arab-Islamic, Baltic, English, Finno-Ugric, French, Hispanic, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Scandinavian, Scottish, Slavic, and Welsh.

For anyone who has ever wanted a path through the tangle of Arthurian legends, or the real lowdown on St. Patrick, or the last word on wolf lore--this is the place to look.


A venerable assemblage of scholars illuminates the folklore of the medieval world and the generations that invented and sustained it.

The contributors:

Ulrich Marzolph -- Arab-Islamic
Thomas A. DuBois -- Baltic
John McNamara & Carl Lindahl -- English
Thomas A. DuBois -- Finno-Ugric
Francesca Canadé Sautman -- French
Samuel G. Armistead -- Hispanic
Éva Pócs -- Hungarian
Joseph Falaky Nagy -- Irish
Giuseppe C. Di Scipio -- Italian
Eli Yassif -- Jewish
Stephen A. Mitchell -- Scandinavian
John McNamara -- Scottish
Eve Levin -- Slavic
Elissa R. Henken & Brynley F. Roberts -- Welsh

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Review: Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs

User Review  - Carl - Goodreads

Haven't read the whole book, obviously, but it has been helpful for the occasional reference. None of these articles will be a sufficient source unto itself if you are writing a paper on one of these ... Read full review

Review: Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs

User Review  - Ogopogo - Goodreads

Useful reference book. Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Carl Lindahl, author of books and articles on Chaucer, folk narrative, and festive custom, and John McNamara, who has produced many studies of the heroic and monastic lore of medieval England and Scotland, are Professors of English at the University of Houston. John Lindow is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley specializing in Scandinavian folklore and medieval studies.

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