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Folklore on the American Land Paperback – May, 1988

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An introductory study to American folklore acquaints readers with folk grammar, beliefs, and legends that reveal this distinctive way of life


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (P) (May 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316237213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316237215
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,090,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Wingchair Critic on July 16, 2002
'Folklore On The American Land' is one of prolific author Duncan Emrich's greatest contributions to American culture, history, and folklore. This book should be an essential item for librarians, educators, folklorists, historians, and roots musicians.

Except for three relatively brief, informative text chapters ('American Folklore,' 'Some Guideposts,' and 'Folk Language and Grammar'), the balance of the book--the next 665 pages--is composed of such infrequently reproduced or catalogued subjects as "Quilt Names,' 'Murder Ballads,' 'Tales Told in the Gullah Dialect,' 'Nonsense Spelling,' 'Autograph Album Rhymes,' 'Cattle Brands,' 'Names of Ozark Fiddle Tunes,' 'Hound Dog Names,' 'Street Cries,' 'Folklore of Birth,'and a host of others. Each of the sections is briefly introduced and contextually framed by Emrich. In the lengthy song sections, the music as well as the lyrics are included.

'Legends And Tales' includes material readily found in standard American folklore collections, such as the legends of Jesse James and General Custer, and the history of the American Santa Claus and cowboy traditions. Emrich was also well ahead of his time, as the volume includes a chapter on 'Urban Belief Tales,' now universally known as urban legends. Today, their discovery as a valid and apparently spontaneous folklore form is sadly attributed to others.

Most if not all of the included material derives from the period before radio, when most Americans typically lived and worked in rural farming communities, grew and prepared their own food, built their own homes, and entertained themselves and one another by singing and musical instrumentation. For these generations, life was largely church-and-community based, slower, and less complex than it has been for generations since.
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