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Storytellers, a rich collection of more than 250 authentic folktales, confirms the oral tradition of the South. Rising out of a shared rural past, the legends and myths, the jests and trickster tales presented here are as diverse and inventive as the tellers themselves.Edited and introduced by John A. Burrison and selected from more than twenty years of recorded interviews Storytellers, a rich collection of more than 250 authentic folktales, confirms the oral tradition of the South. Rising out of a shared rural past, the legends and myths, the jests and trickster tales presented here are as diverse and inventive as the tellers themselves.Edited and introduced by John A. Burrison and selected from more than twenty years of recorded interviews conducted in the lower Southeast by folklore students, Storytellers brings together for the first time in one book a broad variety of tales told in voices of African American, Anglo-Saxon, and Native American heritage. Describing the storytelling communities, the book re-creates the social settings--from a circle of tellers in a small town to three generations of a single family--where folktales circulate like living currency, changed and increased as they pass from person to person. The book visits individuals who give new voice to the oral tradition of their childhoods, telling again how the cricket trimmed the possum's tail, recasting an old tale of Master and John as "John Meets Lester Maddox," and spinning outrageous tall tales from out of the still mysterious frontier of the Okefenokee Swamp. Ranging from "vulga" tales swapped by men and overheard by women to the adventures of Jack the Rogue, from the unbelievable stupidity of "fool Irishmen" to the horror of witches bounding through the darkened countryside, from instructive tales to illogical jests and puns, the oral record brought together in Storytellers speaks of the South--not one South but many, a region whose diversity is revealed and preserved in the telling of tales.


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Storytellers, a rich collection of more than 250 authentic folktales, confirms the oral tradition of the South. Rising out of a shared rural past, the legends and myths, the jests and trickster tales presented here are as diverse and inventive as the tellers themselves.Edited and introduced by John A. Burrison and selected from more than twenty years of recorded interviews Storytellers, a rich collection of more than 250 authentic folktales, confirms the oral tradition of the South. Rising out of a shared rural past, the legends and myths, the jests and trickster tales presented here are as diverse and inventive as the tellers themselves.Edited and introduced by John A. Burrison and selected from more than twenty years of recorded interviews conducted in the lower Southeast by folklore students, Storytellers brings together for the first time in one book a broad variety of tales told in voices of African American, Anglo-Saxon, and Native American heritage. Describing the storytelling communities, the book re-creates the social settings--from a circle of tellers in a small town to three generations of a single family--where folktales circulate like living currency, changed and increased as they pass from person to person. The book visits individuals who give new voice to the oral tradition of their childhoods, telling again how the cricket trimmed the possum's tail, recasting an old tale of Master and John as "John Meets Lester Maddox," and spinning outrageous tall tales from out of the still mysterious frontier of the Okefenokee Swamp. Ranging from "vulga" tales swapped by men and overheard by women to the adventures of Jack the Rogue, from the unbelievable stupidity of "fool Irishmen" to the horror of witches bounding through the darkened countryside, from instructive tales to illogical jests and puns, the oral record brought together in Storytellers speaks of the South--not one South but many, a region whose diversity is revealed and preserved in the telling of tales.

31 review for Storytellers: Folktales and Legends from the South

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deana

    This was a very interesting book, but could at times be difficult to read because it was written to show the Southern dialects. In a way, this really enhanced the stories, because you could read it the way it was spoken, it was almost as if the southerner was in my head speaking the tale. But on multiple occasions, I had to stop and try to figure out what a word was supposed to be (although usually the author put a note for the particularly difficult words, like Arshmin, which was "Irishman"). Th This was a very interesting book, but could at times be difficult to read because it was written to show the Southern dialects. In a way, this really enhanced the stories, because you could read it the way it was spoken, it was almost as if the southerner was in my head speaking the tale. But on multiple occasions, I had to stop and try to figure out what a word was supposed to be (although usually the author put a note for the particularly difficult words, like Arshmin, which was "Irishman"). The stories were gathered in the 70s and 80s by a group of people who met with these southern story tellers and used a voice recorder to record the stories. Then, they went and transcribed the stories word for word. Some of them are versions of old tales that everyone knows, like the story of the little boy and animals who stood on each other's shoulders and scared the robbers away. Others were jokes, moral tales, and just stories of the "olden days" that were very interesting reads. Others were less sensical, but that's to be expected. Some were very raunchy (like the woman who tried to pee on their cornmeal to constitute it because they were out of water, and she farted and blew away the last of their dinner), and there was quite a bit of stealing. But overall, pretty neat. I would have liked to hear a lot of these stories first hand. Another really great part about the book, is that intersperced through the stories, there are many beautiful black and white photographs like the one shown on the cover (if you follow the Amazon link above, you can see it) that really help set the mood of the stories. Yeah, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in folk stories, the history in the southern US, or any of that type of thing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cat Rennolds

    Definitely at least PG, and in no way politically correct. Which is to say it is a faithful scholarly record of folk stories from Georgia (in my volume) from the late 1960s. Including off-color and racial jokes. Extremely valuable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jana Whitehead

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Leigh

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

  7. 4 out of 5

    A.J williams

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Mclaurin

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Callahan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas James Langsdorf

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susie Kuilan

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tara Tutcher

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Cook

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anita Cortes

  16. 4 out of 5

    Almeta

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Brunck

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brent

  20. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Maher

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marty Elrod

  22. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  24. 4 out of 5

    Winter

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chitra Chakma

  27. 4 out of 5

    Clare

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hannah McManus

  29. 4 out of 5

    Harvey

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  31. 4 out of 5

    Beth

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