CDN$ 27.79
  • List Price: CDN$ 30.95
  • You Save: CDN$ 3.16 (10%)
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Medieval Folklore: A Guid... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs Paperback – May 23 2002

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
CDN$ 27.79
CDN$ 17.04 CDN$ 26.42

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • You'll save an extra 5% on Books purchased from, now through July 29th. No code necessary, discount applied at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)

Frequently Bought Together

  • Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs
  • +
  • The Forest in Folklore and Mythology
Total price: CDN$ 49.54
Buy the selected items together

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (March 15 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195147723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195147728
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 3.8 x 15.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 894 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #364,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

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.

From the Publisher

30 halftones

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa5690978) out of 5 stars 14 reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa59884f4) out of 5 stars Exceptional Encyclopedia of Foklore. Aug. 20 2011
By Anne Rice - Published on
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
HASH(0xa5988740) out of 5 stars Handy Medieval Reference Oct. 27 2004
By Santa Fean - Published on
Format: Paperback
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
HASH(0xa5988980) out of 5 stars Fascinating reference work Jan. 15 2008
By Russell T. Warne - Published on
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
HASH(0xa5988b24) out of 5 stars An Important Compendium Jan. 20 2011
By Alex C. Telander - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.

Go to BookBanter ([...] for over five hundred reviews and over forty exclusive author interviews, and more.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5988ef0) out of 5 stars Excellent, well researched, and thorough Oct. 24 2013
By SuzieQccr - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm very careful when buying "dictionaries" and "encyclopedias" about folklore topics. There are tons of them on fairies, for example, floating around. Usually the authors have no academic credentials what so ever, don't know how to conduct proper research, and fill their pages with inaccurate info. I'm happy to report this is NOT one of those!

If you have an interest in folklore, this book is a must have. It's a handy reference for use in writing, and it's also fun to thumb through and read random entries.

What it is NOT, also, is a pretty coffee table book. Unlike many of the fairy encyclopedias out there, this one is not illustrated. It's densely packed with information.

As someone who reads this kind of stuff often, I can say I'm pleasantly surprised with the level of detail and apparent accuracy. For sake of comparison, I also purchased the Oxford Dictionary of Folklore, and was disappointed that many entries were stunted and it focused on Victorian to modern examples without going deeply into earlier medieval roots. This one, on the other hand, gives a breadth of information on topics the Oxford one only touches on.

For another comparison, there is an earlier work I recently referenced called Faiths and Folklore of the British Isles by Hazlitt. Hazlitt gave a piece of information that followed the now out-dated habit of assuming Celtic and other Northern European deities were simply versions of Greco-Roman gods, saying that farm laborers worshiped "Ceres" in the fields. When I looked up the same topic in Medieval Folklore, it said "previous folklorists often erroneously referred to the 'Corn Spirit' as 'Ceres.'" And it went on to explain why that is incorrect. I found that kind of funny :-)

One more thing worth mentioning. A lot of these other "bad" dictionary/encyclopedias on myth are written by one person. As mentioned, often the individual is really unqualified to cover the topic at a scholarly level. Even when the individual does have academic qualifications, the work is often influenced by the person's personal preferences and biases. Plus even someone with a PhD in Medieval history usually has a specialty, ergo they aren't experts on ALL aspects of the subject they're writing on.

That's what makes this book different. There are three editors and a host of contributors who are all specialists in their own field. I.e. entries on English folklore and written by an expert in English folklore, and so on. They have contributors who specialize in many disciplines from Arab-Islamic, Jewish, Scandinavian, Baltic, to name just a few. So you're getting info from real experts on many different aspects and subdivisions of folklore - not just one guy.

I can't recommend this book enough for writers, students, academics, and lovers of folklore.