American Folklore

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University of Chicago Press, 1977 - Fiction - 338 pages
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Here, grounded firmly in American history, is a skilled folklorist's survey of the entire field of America's folklore—from colonization to mass culture.

Tracing the forms and content of American folklore, Mr. Dorson reveals the richness, pathos, and humor of genuine folklore, which he distinguishes from the "fakelore" of popularizers and chauvinists. At the same time, however, he shows what the creation of spurious folklore (the Paul Bunyan legends, for instance) discloses about our national character. Based upon authentic field collections and research, the examples cited include folkways, jests, boasts, tall tales, ballads, folk and legendary heroes.

"His volume enlarges our understanding of the American past and present through an empirical survey of the extant folk traditions and it also provides us with the means for appreciating what is valuable in these folk traditions."—Virginia Quarterly Review

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Colonial Folklore
The Rise of Native Folk Humor
Regional Folk Cultures
A Gallery of Folk Heroes
A Last Word on Folklore
Bibliographical Notes
Table of Motifs and Tale Types

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About the author (1977)

Richard M. Dorson was Distinguished Professor of History and Folklore and director of the Folklore Institute at Indiana University. His many books include Buying the Wind: Regional Folklore in the United States; The British Folklorists: A History; Folklore and Folklife; and Folktales Told around the World, all published by the University of Chicago Press.