This book addresses the narrative construction of places, the relationship between tradition communities and their environments, the supernatural dimensions of cultural landscapes and wilderness as they are manifested in European folklore and in early literary sources, such as the Old Norse sagas.
The first section “Explorations in Place-Lore” discusses cursed and sacred places, churches, graveyards, haunted houses, cemeteries, grave mounds, hill forts, and other tradition dominants in the micro-geography of the Nordic and Baltic countries, both retrospectively and from synchronous perspectives. The supernaturalisation of places appears as a socially embedded set of practices that involves storytelling and ritual behaviour. Articles show, how places accumulate meanings as they are layered by stories and how this shared knowledge about environments can actualise in personal experiences.
Articles in the second section “Regional Variation, Environment and Spatial Dimensions” address ecotypes, milieu-morphological adaptation in Nordic and Baltic-Finnic folklores, and the active role of tradition bearers in shaping beliefs about nature as well as attitudes towards the environment. The meaning of places and spatial distance as the marker of otherness and sacrality in Old Norse sagas is also discussed here.
The third section of the book “Traditions and Histories Reconsidered” addresses major developments within the European social histories and mentalities. It scrutinizes the history of folkloristics, its geopolitical dimensions and its connection with nation building, as well as looking at constructions of the concepts Baltic, Nordic and Celtic. It also sheds light on the social base of folklore and examines vernacular views toward legendry and the supernatural.Book Details
The poem Kalevipoeg, over 19,000 lines in length, was composed by FriedrichReinhold Kreutzwald (1803–1882) on the basis on folklore material. Itwas published in an Estonian-German bilingual edition in six instalmentsbetween 1857 and 1861; it went on to become the Estonian national epic.This first English-language monograph on the Kalevipoeg sheds light onvarious aspects of the emergence, creation and reception of the text.The first chapter sketches the objectives of the book and gives a shortsummary of the contents of the twenty tales of the epic, while the secondchapter treats the significance of the epic against the cultural background ofnineteenth-century Estonia.
The third chapter scrutinizes the emergence of the text in moredetail and, in its second part, takes a closer look at the many intertextualconnections and the traces the epic material has left in Estonian literatureup to the present time. The fourth chapter is a detailed case study of onedebated passage of the fifteenth tale.
The fifth and the six chapters deal with the German reception of the epic,which partly took place earlier than the reception in Estonia. In the fifthchapter, the first reviews and an early treatise by the German scholar WilhelmSchott (1863) are discussed. The sixth chapter presents the new genre of‘rewritings’ of the epic – texts which cannot be labelled as translations butare rather new creations on the basis of Kreutzwald’s text.
In the seventh chapter several versions of these retellings and adaptationsare compared in order to show the stability of some core material conveyedby various authors. A concluding chapter stresses the significance of foreignreception in the canonization process of the Kalevipoeg. At the end, acomprehensive bibliography and an index are added."Book Details
This book presents current discussions on the concept of genre. It introduces innovative, multidisciplinary approaches to contemporary and historical genres, their roles in cultural discourse, how they change, and their relations to each other.
The reader is guided into the discussion surrounding this key concept and its history through a general introduction, followed by eighteen chapters that represent a variety of discursive practices as well as analytic methods from several scholarly traditions.
This volume will have wide appeal to several academic audiences within the humanities, both in Finland and abroad, and will especially be of interest to scholars of folklore, language and cultural expression.Book Details
Mythic discourses in the present day show how vernacular heritage continues to function and be valuable through emergent interpretations and revaluations. At the same time, continuities in mythic images, motifs, myths and genres reveal the longue durée of mythologies and their transformations. The eighteen articles of Mythic Discourses address the many facets of myth in Uralic cultures, from the Finnish and Karelian world-creation to Nenets shamans, offering multidisciplinary perspectives from twenty eastern and western scholars.
The mythologies of Uralic peoples differ so considerably that mythology is approached here in a broad sense, including myths proper, religious beliefs and associated rituals. Traditions are addressed individually, typologically, and in historical perspective. The range and breadth of the articles, presenting diverse living mythologies, their histories and relationships to traditions of other cultures such as Germanic and Slavic, all come together to offer a far richer and more developed perspective on Uralic traditions than any one article could do alone.Book Details
Why are Khanty shamans still active? What are the folklore collectives of Komi? Why are the rituals of Udmurts performed at cultural festivals? In their insightful ethnographic study Anna-Leena Siikala and Oleg Ulyashev attempt to answer such questions by analysing the recreation of religious traditions, myths, and songs in public and private performances. Their work is based on long term fieldwork undertaken during the 1990s and 2000s in three different places, the Northern Ob region in North West Siberia and in the Komi and Udmurt Republics. It sheds light on how different traditions are favoured and transformed in multicultural Russia today. Siikala and Ulyashev examine rituals, songs, and festivals that emphasize specificity and create feelings of belonging between members of families, kin groups, villages, ethnic groups, and nations, and interpret them from a perspective of area, state, and cultural policies. A closer look at post-Soviet Khanty, Komi and Udmurts shows that opportunities to perform ethnic culture vary significantly among Russian minorities with different histories and administrative organisation. Within this variation the dialogue between local and administrative needs is decisive.Book Details
Words as Events introduces the tradition of short, communicative rhyming couplets, the mantinádes, as still sung and recited in a variety of performance situations on the island of Crete. Recently, these poems have also entered modern mass media and they are widely being exchanged as text messages by Cretans. Focusing on the multi-functionality of the short form, Sykäri demonstrates how the traditional register gives voice to individual experiences in spontaneous utterances. The local focus on communicative economy and artistry is further examined in a close analysis of the processes and ideals of composition. By analyzing how the “restrictions” of form and performative conventions in fact generate impulses of creativity, the author creates a theoretical approach that is sensitive to the special characteristics of the short, rhymed poetic traditions.
In this interdisciplinary study, the reader is invited to become familiar with the current folklore theory of oral poetry, which has a long tradition in Finland. The author combines the results of earlier folkloristic and anthropological insights, and extends the theoretical concerns further to address questions of spontaneity and individual agency. The research data has been produced in communicative interactions during long-term fieldwork. As a result, the short, rhymed poetry, often neglected by scholars in earlier research paradigms, can now be seen in new light – specifically as dialogic poetry – through its extended, multi-layered dialogic qualities.Book Details
In their study of social practices deemed traditional, scholars tend to use the concept and idea of tradition as an element of meaning in the practices under investigation. But just whose meaning is it? Is it a meaning generated by those who study tradition or those whose traditions are being studied? In both cases, particular criteria for traditionality are employed, whether these are explicated or not. Individuals and groups will no doubt continue to uphold their traditional practices or refer to their practices as traditional. While they are in no way obliged to explicate in analytical terms their criteria for traditionality, the same cannot be said for those who make the study of traditions their profession. In scholarly analysis, traditions need to be explained instead of used as explanations for apparent repetitions and replications or symbolic linking in social practice, values, history, and heritage politics.
This book takes a closer look at ‘tradition’ and ‘folklore’ in order to conceptualize them within discourses on modernity and modernism. The first section discusses ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ as modern concepts and the study of folklore as a modern trajectory. The underlying tenet here is that non-modernity cannot be represented without modern mediation, which therefore makes the representations of non-modernity epistemologically modern. The second section focuses on the nation-state of Finland and the nationalistic use of folk traditions in the discursive production of Finnish modernity and its Others. The insights are applicable worldwide in discussions on cultural representation.Book Details
Lying on the border between eastern and western Christendom, Orthodox Karelia preserved its unique religious culture into the 19th and 20th centuries, when it was described and recorded by Finnish and Karelian folklore collectors. This colorful array of ritulas and beliefs involving nature spirits, saints, the dead, and pilgrimage to monasteries represented a unigue fusion of official Church ritual and doctrine and pre-Christian ethnic folk belief. This book undertakes a fascinating exploration into many aspects of Orthodox Karelian ritual life: beliefs in supernatural forces, folk models of illness, body concepts, divination, holy icons, the role of the ritual specialist and healer, the divide between nature and culture, images of forest, the cult of the dead, and the popular image of monasteries and holy hermits. It will appeal to anyone interested in popular religion, the cognitive study of religion, ritual studies, medical anthropology, and the folk traditions and symbolism of the Balto-Finnic peoples.Book Details
The recent fascination in Finnish folklore studies with popular thought and the values and emotions encoded in oral tradition began with the realisation that the vast collections of the Finnish folklore archives still have much to offer the modern-day researcher. These archive materials were not only collected by scholars, but also by the ordinary rural populace interested in their own traditions, by performers and their audiences. With its myriad voices, this body of source material thus provides new avenues for the researcher seeking to penetrate popular thought. What does oral tradition tell us about the way its performers think and feel? What sorts of beliefs and ideas are transmitted in traditional songs and narratives? Perspectives from the study of mentalities and cultural cognition research provide a framework for investigating these issues.
This collection of articles works from the premise that the cultural models which shape mentalities give rise to manifest expressions of culture, including folklore. These models also become embedded in the representations appearing in folklore, and are handed down from one generation to the next. The topics of the book cover age-old myths and world views, concepts of witchcraft and the Devil stretching back to the Middle Ages, and the values and collective emotions of Finnish and Hungarian agrarian communities.Book Details
Riddles are a journey into a fascinating world rich in delightful metaphors and ambiguity. This book is based on material drawn from all over the world and analyses both traditional true riddles and contemporary joking questions. It introduces the reader to different riddling situations and the many functions of riddles, wich vary from education to teasing, and from defusing a heated situation to entertainment. In addition to providing a survey of international riddle scholarship, the book has a comprehensive bibliography with suggestions for further reading.Book Details