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Principles for Oral Narrative Research (Folklore Studies in Translation) Hardcover – June 22, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Folklore Studies in Translation
  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; First Edition edition (June 22, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253341752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253341754
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,523,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Danish

About the Author

AXEL OLRIK (1864–1917) was Professor of Folklore at the University of Copenhagen and founder of the Danish Folklore Archives. He specialized in medieval Scandinavian folklore, ballads, legends, and comparative religion. Three of his books have appeared in English: The Heroic Legends of Denmark, Viking Civilization, and A Book of Danish Ballads.


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Heil on August 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Axel Olrik's work is best known for his Epic Laws which apply to fairy tale and myth all over the world and, if you think about it, to most of film particularly Star Wars. But it's the rest of his principles that do the heavy lifting in the fields I relate to best: Pentateuch studies, archaeology, and Documentary Hypothesis.

Olrik's principles follow good scientific method. They provide definitions, standards for determining the boundaries of narratives, and apply broadly across narrative literature.

Olrik's work independently supports and is supported by Sapir-Whorf linguistic theory. Both fields agree that culture affects expression. One difference is that Olrik rejects linguistics as fundamental to comparing two narratives; to him, the basis of comparison requires going through the plots episode by episode, character feature by character feature and only if they match can you call the narratives similar. In that case using like names in both narrative is lagniappe but if they aren't similar, a likeness in names means nothing.

Olrik avoids one important fallacy in studying Bible; he rejects quoting out of context, which has formed the basis of so many mistaken interpretations.

Olrik puts a governor on some claims by archaeologists about whether their discoveries relate to things in Pentateuch. I believe that the differing episodes, horizons (sum total of geographic information in a narrative), and outcomes make it impossible for the Balaam description discovered in Midian, to relate to the Balaam narrative in Numbers.

Most important to me is that Olrik defeats the Documentary Hypothesis. I don't think he knew this because his appendix that is included in this translation seems to assume that DH is correct.
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