Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Women in Folklore: Women and Tradition: A Neglected Group of Folklorists

I'm not sure how popular my posts on women and folklore and fairy tales are this month since commenting has gone down, although the few that are appearing are enthusiastic. (Thank you, dear readers.) However, I am learning new things while I write, so I am enjoying myself and consequently spending way too much time on writing and compiling these posts. I'm also discovering books I didn't know existed and making my wishlist even longer, alas.

Today's book is Women and Tradition: A Neglected Group of Folklorists edited by Carmen Blacker and Hilda Ellis Davidson.

Description from the publisher, Carolina Academic Press:

Women and Tradition looks at the lives and work of a number of women who have collected traditional beliefs, tales, songs, and dances in various parts of the world. These women, who lived from the eighteenth century on, have been responsible for invaluable and innovative contributions to folklore studies. Sixteen chapters, by various contributors, chronicle the lives, work, and writings of these pioneering folklorists.

From collecting songs in the Appalachian Mountains to living among Romany gypsies, and from collecting British fairy lore to studying folklore in the American south and Jamaica and Haiti—these women pursued their interests in times when it was not always politic to do so. An introduction by editors Blacker and Davidson looks at the groundbreaking work done by these women, the obstacles they encountered, and their determination to follow their particular avenues of scholarship.

Women and Tradition covers the works of women such as Lady Gregory, scholar and collector of Irish tales and myths; Lady Gomme, founding member of the Folklore Society; Zora Neale Hurston, anthropologist and author; Margaret Murray, distinguished Egyptologist and witchcraft scholar; as well as works from Anne MacVicar Grant, Charlotte Burne, Dora Yates, Violet Alford, Maud Karpeles, Christina Hole, Katharine Briggs, Ruth Tongue, Mona Douglas, Enid Porter, Theo Brown, Lady Charlotte Guest, Marie Trevelyan, and Mary Williams.

This book is not only a fascinating look at a variety of topics which fall under the "folklore" umbrella, but is also a unique historical chronicling of the lives and times of women folklorists who lived from the mid 1700s until the late 1900s.

And here's the full list of the women discussed from the table of contents:


Anne MacVicar Grant (1755–1838)

Charlotte Burne (1850–1923)

Augusta Gregory (1852–1932)

Alice Gomme (1852–1938)

Mary Alicia Owen (1850–1935)

Margaret Murray (1863–1963)

Dora Yates (1879–1974)

Violet Alford (1881–1976)

Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960)

Christina Hole (1896–1985)

Katharine Briggs (1898–1980)

Ruth Tongue (1898–1981)

Mona Douglas (1898–1987)

Enid Porter (1909–1984)

Theo Brown (1914–1993)

A Welsh Triad:
Charlotte Guest (1812–1895)
Marie Trevelyan (1853–1922)
Mary Williams (1883–1977)

Note that I've already featured a few of these women this month. I'm not familiar with most of these women since they are folklorists which is my least knowledgable area of this fairy tale tale realm--my specialty is fairy tales as well as children's and grown-up literature. Many of these women are folklorists of various fields, not necessarily dealing with story collection either. But I am interested in reading this book and want to learn more about each of these women. I wish I already owned it to help me with this month's project.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, this is just to say that though I usually read this at work and don't have time to comment, I'm really, really appreciating these women and folklore posts. I too am learning a lot and expanding my wishlist! Thank you so much for them.