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Main page » Dictionaries and Encyclopedias » Storytelling: An Encyclopedia of Mythology and Folklore

Storytelling: An Encyclopedia of Mythology and Folklore


Storytelling: An Encyclopedia of Mythology and Folklore
By Josepha Sherman
Number Of Pages: 904
Publication Date: 2008-08-11
ISBN-10 / ASIN: 0765680475
ISBN-13 / EAN: 9780765680471

Storytelling is an ancient practice known in all civilizations throughout history. Characters, tales, techniques, oral traditions, motifs, and tale types transcend individual cultures - elements and names change, but the stories are remarkably similar with each rendition, highlighting the values and concerns of the host culture. Examining the stories and the oral traditions associated with different cultures offers a unique view of practices and traditions. "Storytelling: An Encyclopedia of Mythology and Folklore" brings past and present cultures of the world to life through their stories, oral traditions, and performance styles. It combines folklore and mythology, traditional arts, history, literature, and festivals to present an overview of world cultures through their liveliest and most fascinating mode of expression. This appealing resource includes specific storytelling techniques as well as retellings of stories from various cultures and traditions.

This set does an effective job of summarizing the major elements of a complex topic: storytelling. Coverage spans oral tradition from its roots, the earliest recorded stories and creation myths, and follows the development of intertwined and contrasting themes, genres, and motifs throughout history, culminating with modern-day urban legends and superheroes. The set is divided into three main sections.


The first consists of alphabetically arranged entries on people, places, creatures, characters, cultures, religions, societal norms, adaptations, interpretations, and styles and devices. Entries have been written by various contributors (some are signed) and range from a paragraph to several pages. Occasional black-and-white illustrations and reproductions are scattered throughout. Sources (usually print) are provided for each article, and many articles include see also references.


The second part offers retellings of traditional stories. The 49 selections represent an international array of standards and offer a sampling of various subgenres. Care has been taken to preserve original nuances, conventions, and cadences. Samples include a folktale from the Talmud, a changeling tale from Wales, a shape-shifting story from Germany, a parable from the Jataka, a collection of Buddhist moral tales, a riddle tale, a fool tale, hero myths, indigenous legends, and selections from epics.


The third part details storytelling resources: a worldwide list of college and university courses in storytelling studies, including contact information; a directory of international storytelling festivals; bibliographies of print materials about storytelling, collections of folktales, and tale type and motif indexes; and a detailed index. These support materials, when combined with the background information provided in the introduction (history, rationale, definitions, materials collection, storytelling techniques, and various applications), help create a comprehensive overview. This well-written and accessible set is recommended for large public and academic collections that support teacher-education programs or that cater to storytellers.


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Tags: traditions, cultures, stories, Storytelling, Mythology, Folklore