6 Chapter 6 The spoken word Reformed folklore? Reformed folklore? Cautionary tales and oral tradition in early modern England Alexandra Walsham P rotestantism and print have often been presented as inherently hostile to oral tradition. Historians have credited both with a leading role in marginalizing, fossilizing, and ultimately suffocating the vernacular culture of late medieval England. Still widely regarded as a movement whose success depended upon the spread of literacy and the advent of the press, the Reformation is commonly associated with attempts to
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps‘s Gothic short story Kentucky‘s Ghost (1868) is amongst the most distinctive of ghost-child narratives to be published in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This is owing, foremost, to its unique topographical and social setting; taking place at sea amongst an all-male crew of mostly lower-class sailors, rather than in the large suburban or rural house of middle or upper-class families that were typical of this Anglo-American literary sub-genre. This article considers the child-figure in Phelpss tale within intersecting frameworks: firstly, within a tradition of nautical folklore that is integral to producing the tales Gothic tone. Secondly, within a contemporary context of frequently romanticised depictions of child-stowaways in literature, but a reality in which they were subjected to horrific abuse. Finally, her tale is discussed as a reformist piece that, despite its singularities, draws on darker versions of literary and folkloric dead-child traditions to produce a terrifying tale of retribution.
Critical approaches to Gothic origins usually bear on theme and ideology rather than on textuality. This article argues both that by the side of thematic issues we must carefully examine the forms of Gothic and that, beyond the literary and philosophical, the folk sources of Gothic remain to be acknowledged. Making use of tools familiar to mythographer and folklorist, textual analysis of a passage from the 1831 edition of Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein reveals this novel is built on the traditional narrative structure of the heroic quest; while Victor‘s tragic destiny is shown to result from a deliberate manipulation of traditional patterns.
This article discusses the manner in which the vampire fiction of contemporary Ukrainian author Halyna Pahutiak enters into a dialogue with the global vampire discourse whose core or ‘cultural capital’ finds its origins largely in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula (1897). Through discussion of thematic, stylistic, and structural similarities and differences between Pahutiak and Stoker’s portrayals of the vampire myth, my paper sheds light on the conscious mythmaking strategies that Pahutiak employs to return the vampire symbolically from the West to Eastern Europe where it originated, and reassess the core characteristics of the Dracula myth.
Antiquarian efforts to revive Old Norse poetry brought about an interest in Germanic superstition that could be exploited by literary writers. This article examines a subspecies of terror writing which took inspiration from Norse literature. Compared to the Catholic settings of many Gothic novels, Norse-inflected writing provided an alternative. It is a little known fact that the Old Norse religion and literature was used as a prism through which Britains ethnically Gothic past could be viewed and negotiated. The article discusses some examples of how the fashion for thrills was combined with a national project to recover a sense of ancestral heroism.
In 1954 and 1958 the John Rylands Library acquired a significant portion of the library of Dr Moses Gaster (1856–1939). As a scholar and bibliophile, Gaster collected manuscripts, printed books, pamphlets and amulets. His collection reflects his wide ranging interests: philology (including Romanian language, folklore and literature), Judaica, magic and mysticism, and Samaritan studies. This article presents a survey of the varied Rylands Gaster collection. It includes an inventory of the miscellaneous manuscript sequence, a complete handlist of Gaster‘s German manuscripts and an introduction to the archival material.
The Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseburg has long been recognised as one of the most important sources for the history of the tenth and early eleventh centuries, especially for the history of the Ottonian Empire. Although there is sufficient evidence of continuity between the Ottonians and the early Salians to justify a long Ottonian period extending at least to 1056, it is the Ottonians alone who defined the mental landscape of Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg. Thietmar's testimony also has special value because of his geographical location, in eastern Saxony, on the boundary between German and Slavic cultures. He is arguably the single most important witness to the early history of Poland, and his detailed descriptions of Slavic folklore are the earliest on record. Among anglophone readers, Thietmar's reputation rests chiefly on the various studies of Ottonian society and politics produced by the late Karl Leyser, one of the most influential historians of his generation. Although Thietmar placed great importance on kings and royal politics, he was scarcely reticent when it came to expressing his opinions on other matters. Notwithstanding his emphasis on the Divinity's role in directing Ottonian kings, Thietmar did not conceal the fact that the effect of royal government could be disruptive.
Men and women who were born, grew up and died in Ireland between 1850 and 1922 made decisions—to train, to emigrate, to stay at home, to marry, to stay single, to stay at school—based on the knowledge and resources they had at the time. This, a comprehensive social history of Ireland for the years 1850–1922, explores that knowledge and discusses those resources, for men and women at all social levels on the island as a whole. Original research, particularly on extreme poverty and public health, is supplemented by neglected published sources, including local history journals, popular autobiography and newspapers. Folklore and Irish language sources are used extensively. The book reproduces the voices of the people and the stories of individuals whenever it can, and questions much of the accepted wisdom of Irish historiography over the previous five decades.
Nordic Gothic traces Gothic fiction in the Nordic region from its beginnings in the nineteenth century with a main focus on the development of Gothic from the 1990s onwards in literature, film, TV series and new media. The volume gives an overview of Nordic Gothic fiction in relation to transnational developments and provides a number of case studies and in-depth analyses of individual narratives. The book creates an understanding of a ubiquitous but hitherto under-researched cultural phenomenon by showing how the Gothic narratives make visible cultural anxieties haunting the Nordic countries and their welfare systems, and how central these anxieties are for the understanding of identities and ideologies in the Nordic region. It examines how figures from Nordic folklore and mythology function as metaphorical expressions of Gothic themes, and also how universal Gothic figures such as vampires and witches are used in the Nordic context. The Nordic settings, and especially the Nordic wilderness, are explored from perspectives such as ecocriticism and postcolonialism and subcategories such as Gothic crime, Gothic humour, troll Gothic and geriatric Gothic are defined and discussed. Furthermore, the phenomenon of transcultural adaptation is investigated, using the cases of Lars von Trier’s Riget and John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Låt den rätte komma in, two seminal works of contemporary Nordic Gothic.