Multilocality and the narration of place meanings in an Irish story
Professional Irish storytelling reaches an audience well beyond Ireland, yet many stories are infused with specific information about Irish customs and culture. The listener who is unfamiliar with such specifics must rely on the storyteller to mediate perspectives on Irish culture that are at once comprehensive and relatively easy to understand.
This paper focuses on a single performance of a story about a bewitched field in Ireland. In particular, it explores how place meanings may be mediated in social, legislative, religious, and folkloristic contexts. The narrated, multilocal presentation of these contexts then create a story in which unfamiliar listeners are invited to a deeper understanding of a place with which they have no personal experience. Continue reading “Multilocality and the narration of place meanings in an Irish story”
Tamar Alexander-Frizer. The Heart is a Mirror: The Sephardic Folktale. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2008. Xiv + 690 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8143-2971-9. $65.00 Hardcover.
David Elton Gay
The Heart is a Mirror is a translation of Tamar Alexander-Frizer’s 1999 Hebrew study of Sephardic folk narrative, The Beloved Friend: Studies in Sephardic Folk Literature. The title of the Hebrew original gives a far better sense of what this book is about. It is far more than a book on the Sephardic folktale alone, as implied by the English title; rather, Alexander-Frizer intends to introduce the reader to the wealth of Sephardic prose folk narrative in its many genres. Continue reading “The Heart is a Mirror: The Sephardic Folktale”
Testimony and Truth After Auschwitz
Survivor testimony of the Holocaust often deviates from historical fact. Postmodern theory allows for the near nihilation of that testimony by arguing that history is nothing but a version of events. This paper seeks to authenticate survivor testimony in a postmodern context through the exploration of an ethics of testimony, concluding that factual truth and testimonial truth are members of fundamentally different categories, the latter dependent not on accuracy but on the social, ethical mandate to respect the memory of people who suffer and die so that others may live to tell the story. Continue reading “Testimony and Truth after Auschwitz”
Within Their Own Seams: 19th Century Fashion and the Management of the Body in Women’s Literature and Letters
Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1855 novel, North and South, demonstrates the significant position women’s fashion played in the construction and maintenance of identity and self-expression. Drawing on Gaskell’s novel as well as excerpts from other 19th century women’s letters, travelogues, and memoirs, we see how through imported fashions, English women participated in Empire making and confronted the problems of establishing English identity abroad. Women simultaneously occupied particular local identities and transcended them, articulating the tensions of maintaining both national and international identities through the feminine medium of fashion. At the same time, the tightly managed, corseted body represented a complex response to the advent of modernism. Continue reading “Within Their Own Seams: 19th Century Fashion and the Management of the Body in Women’s Literature and Letters”
David Buchan and James Moreira, eds. The Glenbuchat Ballads. University Press of Mississippi, 2007. Pp. lxxiv + 274, multiple indices, glossary. $60.00 hardbound.
In the early decades of the 19th century, the Reverend Robert Scott compiled a collection of ballads in the small community of Glenbuchat, located in a relatively isolated valley in Northeastern Scotland. Unlike similar collections, this gathering of some 68 ballads was never anthologized into the Francis James Child collection, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Virtually unknown until 1949, it was donated to the Aberdeen University Library by one of Scott’s descendants. Continue reading “David Buchan and James Moreira, eds. The Glenbuchat Ballads”
Jack Zipes. Hans Christian Andersen: The Misunderstood Storyteller. New York: Routledge, 2005. Pp. xvii + 171, bibliography, film bibliography, index.
As the subtitle suggests, this work by distinguished fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes endeavors to dispel the romanticized image of Andersen in popular culture by offering a more accurate and nuanced examination of the Danish storyteller. Although published during the bicentennial commemoration event of Andersen’s birth (the book carries the event’s logo), Zipes nevertheless avoids celebrating Andersen. Instead, Zipes aims to reevaluate the life and works of the prolific storyteller so that he may be taken as a serious literary figure. Continue reading “Jack Zipes. Hans Christian Andersen: The Misunderstood Storyteller.”
Laura Gonzenbach. The Robber with a Witch’s Head: More Stories from the Great Treasury of Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales. Trans. Jack Zipes. New York: Routledge, 2004. Pp. xxxii+230. Illus., notes, bibliography.
David Elton Gay
The Robber with a Witch’s Head is the second volume of Jack Zipes’s translation of Laura Gonzenbach’s nineteenth-century collection of Sicilian folk narrative. While this volume completes the translation of Gonzenbach’s work, the introduction to the volume is a slight revision of the introduction to the first volume, and thus it could easily stand alone as a translation of Italian folk narrative. Continue reading “Laura Gonzenbach. The Robber with a Witch’s Head: More Stories from the Great Treasury of Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales.”