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Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs [Paperback]

Carl Lindahl , John McNamara , John Lindow

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Book Description

March 15 2002
Over a decade in the making, Medieval Folklore offers a wide-ranging guide to the lore of the Middle Ages - from the mundane to the supernatural. Definitive and lively articles focus on the great tales and traditions of the age and includes information on daily and nightly customs and activities; religious beliefs of the pagan, Christian, Muslim, and Jew; key works of oral and written literature; traditional music and art; holidays and feasts; food and drink; and plants and animals, both real and fantastical.

While most books on medieval folklore focus primarily on the West, this unique volume brings together an eclectic range of experts to treat the subject from a global perspective. Especially remarkable are the surveys of the major medieval traditions including Arab-Islamic, Baltic, English, Finno-Ugric, French, Hispanic, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Scandinavian, Scottish, Slavic, and Welsh.

For anyone who has ever wanted a path through the tangle of Arthurian legends, or the real lowdown on St. Patrick, or the last word on wolf lore - this is the place to look.

The contributors:

Ulrich Marzolph - Arab-Islamic Thomas A. DuBois - Baltic John McNamara and Carl Lindahl - English Thomas A. DuBois - Finno-Ugric Francesca Canade Sautman - French Samuel G. Armistead - Hispanic Eva Pocs - Hungarian Joseph Falaky Nagy - Irish Giuseppe C. Di Scipio - Italian Eli Yassif - Jewish Stephen A. Mitchell - Scandinavian JohnMcNamara - Scottish Eve Levin - Slavic Elissa R. Henken and Brynley F. Roberts - Welsh

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From Library Journal

Originally published in two volumes (LJ 9/15/00), this rich compendium has been streamlined to create the first one-volume companion to medieval folklore. Gathered here is a significant body of information currently available only in widely scattered sources. The 261 alphabetically arranged entries span a broad spectrum of topics, embracing major themes in folk culture and the legends and sagas of classic European literature both oral and written dating from 500 to 1500 C.E. (Only very modest attention is paid to materials from Africa, East Asia, and South Asia.) Each essay first defines the topic and then carefully addresses context, historical development, uses, motifs, and notable research. Major entries cover death, dance, music, Christmas, lesbians, funeral rituals, taverns, spirits, food, and animals in literatures from Baltic to Welsh to Jewish. Penned by 114 academic scholars, both European and American, the narratives are often ponderous and leaden, yet it must be acknowledged that within academic limits the writing is well crafted, offering insights and dimension found nowhere else. While not exhaustive, this is an extensive and fully researched work that scholars will find valuable. Richard K. Burns, MSLS, Hatboro, PA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Accused Queen. Most often, a woman who is first abused in her parents' home and later slandered and otherwise persecuted in the home of her husband; more rarely, a woman falsely charged with adultery; a common figure in late-medieval romances, chronicles, and saints' lives, also known as the Calumniated Woman. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Encyclopedia of Foklore. Aug. 20 2011
By Anne Rice - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an exceptionally well written and well constructed book. The articles are substantive and beautifully written, yet extremely concise. In fact it is a marvel that so much helpful information is provided with such conciseness. All material is thoroughly researched with helpful references in the text to primary source material from the Middle Ages or earlier. Though very readable and in fact downright entertaining, this provides quick but deep reference for any student of folklore, and is of invaluable help, surely, for novelists interesting in writing folklorish novels about angels, devils, wild men, elves, fairies, witches and the like. ---- The book is quite comprehensive. The article on Angels is excellent; so is the article on the Wild Man;and the articles on the Wild Woman, and on Fairies. I've read enough to trust the entire book. This would make an excellent gift for a high school or college student, or any writer of fantasy fiction, or any student of literature --- and it will remain on my shelf right next to Sir James Frazier's The Golden Bough. At a time when I am selling or giving away thousands of books from my old libraries, I actually just ordered the hardcover version of this text to keep here permanently in my overcrowded little study. The paperback edition is quite attractive, with its tasteful cover, and double column pages. Just excellent. Really excellent. Highly recommended.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handy Medieval Reference Oct. 27 2004
By Santa Fean - Published on Amazon.com
This is a great reference book for anyone interested in folklore and/or medieval social history. It includes biographical sketches, famous literary figures, regional traditions, holidays, and much more. This compendium covers an impressive range, while remaining manageable - the full index and copious "See also:" cross-references are commendable. It's a pleasure to thumb through and provides a solid introduction to topics as diverse as "Robin Hood", "Samhain", "memento mori" and "skis and skiing".
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating reference work Jan. 15 2008
By Russell T. Warne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The huge success of recent movies like the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, the Harry Potter movies, and the Narnia series shows that dwarves, knights, and magic have never been cooler than they are now. But just as interesting than those works of fiction is the folklore that they draw upon.

"Medieval Folklore" gives short articles about all sorts of topics, from specific folkloric characters (such as Prester John, the Wandering Jew, the Seven Sleepers), traditions (like Jewish, Italian, and Irish medieval folklore), motifs, works ("The Decameron," "The Seven Wise Masters"), authors (Dante Alighieri, Geoffery Chaucer), and more.

Although formatted as an encyclopedia, the writing stays lively thanks to high quality editing. Almost every page will yield an article that is interesting to the layman and the expert.

I'd recommend this book to anyone with a potential interest in medieval life, history, or literature. It would be a welcomed addition to their library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Important Compendium Jan. 20 2011
By Alex C. Telander - Published on Amazon.com
The medieval, mythological and folklore historian has been waiting a long time for a book like this. Have you ever read a little bit of medieval story or folklore and wondered exactly what its origin was, whether it was Irish, Welsh or English, Scandinavian or Eastern European? This compendium has all this in a Norton anthology font-size that is simply jam-packed with details and information. In encyclopedic form, it is a necessary reference tool for any historian, as well a compelling read for anyone interested in the subject matter. It's all here in one concise book that deserve a place on any shelf; fortunately it doesn't take up too much space!

Originally published on March 17th, 2003.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection Jan. 4 2014
By Daniel E. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a fascinating collection of myths, legends, and folklore gathered together in easy to find subjects. A must for anyone interested in medieval beliefs.

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