CE -- Anthropology and Folklore

Grundriß der Volkskunde: Einführung in die Forschungsfelder der europäischen Ethnologie [Outline of Folklore Studies: Introduction to the Research Areas of European Ethnology]. Ed. Rolf W. Brednich. 3d rev. and expanded ed. Berlin: Reimer, 2001. 720 p. 21 cm. ISBN 3-496-02705-3: EUR 39.00 [02-1-130]

This work is intended to provide students who have a foundation in modern folklore theory with a deepened understanding of approaches and problems in the individual fields of folklore research. It consists of separate essays, each written by an outstanding scholar, and each discussing a specific area of modern folklore research. The essays concentrate heavily on current approaches to research, reflecting the redirection of present-day scholarship away from the philological orientation of older research and towards critical cultural analysis. Each essay presents current developments in the field, changes in approach to the subject, and areas of focus for the topic. Important research results and future avenues of study are also presented.

Previous editions of this work were published in 1988 and 1994. For this third edition, essays from the earlier editions have been revised and updated by their authors. They cover the following areas: dwellings, household economy, implements and tools, handicrafts, folk iconography, clothing, food, work, communities and neighborhoods, families, women, customs, folk tales, reading, folk songs and music, folk medicine, folk theater. There are three introductory essays: on the history of the field from its beginnings in the 18th century to the present, on methodology, and on museology. Reflecting new areas of study, this edition also includes essays on media research, tourism, and intercultural communication. The individual essays have their own bibliographies, and there are indexes for the work as a whole. There is also a special bibliography listing works that provide basic introductions to the theory, methodology, and history of the subject as a whole. In their essays the authors have succeeded admirably in presenting a concentrated introduction and orientation in the various areas of folklore research. This is an indispensable reference work for both students and teachers in the field. [wh/jc]

Methoden der Volkskunde: Positionen, Quellen, Arbeitsweisen der Europäischen Ethnologie [Methods of Folklore Studies: Positions, Sources, and Working Methods of European Ethnology]. Ed. Silke Göttsch and Albrecht Lehmann. Berlin: Reimer, 2001. 336 p. ill. 21 cm. ISBN 3-496-02704-5: EUR 24.90 [02-1-131]

This title is the counterpart to Rolf Wilhelm Brednich’s Grundriß der Volkskunde (see RREA 8:201); the two together should give the advanced student or interested amateur a picture of “the field with many names” (e.g., folklore, European ethnology, cultural anthropology, empirical cultural research). There are 15 essays in the volume; only one is by a researcher from the former German Democratic Republic and one by a museum director; most authors are professors and instructors at universities in the Federal Republic of Germany.

The diversity of topics and approaches reflects the pluralism of methodologies in the field. They include, among others, essays on working with archival material, scientific studies of early travel literature, folklore cartography, methods of interethnic/intercultural research, and the difficulties in using empirical data (including interview methodology). There are some problems with citations of sources; for example, there are instances where short citations in the text have no corresponding entries in the bibliography. In addition, some of the essays include incorrect translations from the English, or neglect entirely to translate terminology borrowed from English into German. Nonetheless, as a methodological handbook of folklore and its many directions this volume is superb in both overall format and contents of the individual essays, even though a number of details need improvement. [wh/vh]

Europäische Ethnologie und Folklore im internationalen Kontext: Festschrift für Leander Petzoldt zum 65. Geburtstag [European Ethnology and Folklore in an International Context: Festschrift for Leander Petzoldt on His 65th Birthday]. Ed. Ingo Schneider. Frankfurt am Main [et al.]: Lang, 1999. 765 p. ill. 21 cm. ISBN 3-631-34651-4: EUR 85.90 [02-1-132]

This substantial celebratory volume contains essays from 55 contributors about different aspects of European folklore. Leander Petzoldt, professor at the University of Innsbruck, in whose honor the Festschrift was published, is one of the world’s foremost folklore scholars, an expert in the areas of comparative folk narratives, folk art, customs, folk religion and beliefs, and magic. His writings on these and other topics are fundamental to the field. Petzoldt is not a trend chaser, and the essays in this volume reflect the range of his interests and his adherence to traditional folkloric theories, topics, and methodologies.

The contributors to this volume are diverse in their geographic origins, ages, and career stages. The preponderance of writers younger than Petzoldt bespeaks his continuing influence on folklore scholarship. Some of the more notable contributions in this volume discuss orality and literacy, memory theory, folk narratives in the Internet, serial fiction, film fairytales, and individual local sagas and folk motives. The only gaping omission from this book is a bibliography of Petzoldt’s prolific scholarship.

This title belongs in every collection that supports research in folklore. For the novice folklorist, the volume offers an overview of the content and questions in the field; for the advanced scholar it offers an opportunity for reflection and learning. [wh/ldb]

Hauptwerke der Ethnologie [Principle Works of Ethnology]. Ed. Christian F. Feest and Karl-Heinz Kohl. Stuttgart: Kröner, 2001. xiv, 568 p. 18 cm. (Kröners Taschenausgabe, 380). ISBN 3-520-38001-3: EUR 24.60 [02-1-133]

This is another volume from Kröner’s “Principle Works” series, which presents important works of individual disciplines with the history of their influence. Here, 104 key works in ethnology are discussed. The articles are all constructed alike: biographical information on the author is followed by a content summary, an extensive history of the book’s influence, and a bibliography of editions in the original language of publication and in German translation, as well as of secondary literature. The selection is broad, and there are few omissions. This is a valuable handbook, especially if used with other surveys or introductions to the field with a more chronological or systematic approach. [jpl/vh]

Helden und Gottheiten der Antike: ein Handbuch: der Mythos und seine Überlieferung in Literatur und bildender Kunst [Heroes and Gods of Antiquity: A Handbook: Myth and its Manifestations in Literature and the Visual Arts] Hans-K. Lücke and Susanne Lücke. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2002. 766 p. ill. 19 cm. (Rowohlts Enzyklopädie, 55641). ISBN 3-499-55641-3: EUR 19.90 [02-1-134]

As was the case with the authors’ previous volume in this series (Antike Mythologie, 1999; see RRE 7:210), the present work is only of limited use as a reference work. From their titles, it is difficult to know which of these two volumes treats which gods and myths. The preface to this work states that Antike Mythologie is devoted to the gods of Olympus, whereas the present volume treats the “lesser” gods and heroes. One is left with the impression that the authors, following the success of their initial volume, ransacked their files for material originally deemed of slight importance, in hopes of cashing in on the current boom in books on mythology. Both volumes can serve readers who are fond of browsing, but neither volume is useful for quickly locating specific pieces of information. [ak/crc]

Der große Namenstagskalender: 3850 Namen und 1680 Lebensbeschreibungen der Namenspatrone [Comprehensive Calendar of Name Days: 3,850 Names and 1,680 Biographies of Name Patrons]. Jakob Torsy and Hans-Joachim Kracht. New expanded ed. Freiburg im Breisgau [et al.]: Herder, 2002. 448 p. 22 cm. + 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 3-451-27308: EUR 25.50 [02-2-406]

Der große Namenstagskalender of Jakob Torsy (died 1990) has appeared in many editions and is a common item in Catholic households. Hans-Joachim Kracht, a church historian and since 1993 chief editor of the German edition of Osservatore romano, is the editor of this new edition. It is associated with the journal Gottesdienst, which has been published since 1967 by the liturgical institutes in Salzburg, Trier, and Zürich. The work has a certain official character, although it does not carry an ecclesiastical imprimatur.

The entries are organized chronologically by name day, four to five per day, and may also be located with an index that includes variant forms of the names. A comparison of Torsy/Kracht with Sellner’s Immerwährender Heiligenkalender (2d ed., 1999) and the Legenda aurea (1963; dates to the 13th century) indicates that Torsy/Kracht includes the most names. Unlike the Legenda, however, the entries are relatively brief, limited to name, etymology of the name, membership in a religious order, biography, and attributes. Narratives and apocryphal detail, of greatest interest for literary and anthropological purposes, are less plentiful than in the Legenda. The volume is accompanied by a CD-ROM that contains the text in Pdf format, enhancing its searchability. [wh/jpn]

Deutsches Sprichwörterlexikon [Dictionary of German Proverbs]. Ed. Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Wander. Berlin: Directmedia, 2001. 1 CD-ROM. (Digitale Bibliothek, 62). ISBN 3-89853-162-7: EUR 99.90 [02-2-408]

The five volumes of the Deutsches Sprichwörterlexikon were published between 1867 and 1880; the last reprints were done in the late 1980s. Wander, the best-known German lexicographer outside of the Brothers Grimm, published several collections of proverbs during his lifetime. He also published theoretical observations on proverbs and can be considered the founding father of German proverbiology.

Now the Lexikon is available in digital form as part of the Digitale Bibliothek, which currently includes 78 reference works in literature, music, theology and history (e.g., Brehms Tierleben, Karl May’s complete works, Archiv der Gegenwart von 1949 bis 1999). The software designed for all products in the Digitale Bibliothek series, which even allows for simultaneous searching across several different products in the series, is superior to all others on the market, especially in regards to search options. First-time users are advised to read the accompanying booklet “Introduction to the Software.” The two-column-per-page structure of the print version was not retained for the CD-ROM. The 4,800 pages were transferred to 55,599 screens, which can be read screen-by-screen or entered at any point. Every screen has the option to click to a help screen. The introduction contains a compilation of proverbs and expressions sorted into categories, which in turn are hyperlinked to the entries for the terms and the proverbs in which they occur. The software offers different ways to configure the screen, including showing two pages of the user’s own choice side-by-side. Boolean searches are simplified by a search assistant with type-in boxes and drop-down menu choices of Boolean operators. Variant spellings are accommodated. Truncation operators * and ? can be used. Proverbs in 25 different foreign languages are also included; limiting by language is possible. Options that could never have been offered even in the best of printed indexes are possible in the electronic context.

Later attempts at comprehensive proverb collections have never exceeded 50,000 entries (Harenberg-Lexikon der Sprichwörter & Zitate calls itself the “most comprehensive in the German language;” see RREA 4:41), so that even though many of the proverbs and expressions listed in Wander are no longer in use today, at 250,000 entries, it has stood the test of time. Final analysis: Libraries who own the print edition should add the CD-ROM for its many additional search options. And those without the print edition definitely should acquire this one. [wh/hh]

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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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