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Anthony Di Fiore, Chair SAC 4.102, Mailcode C3200 78712 • 512-471-4206

Fall 2003

ANT 325L • Folklore of the British Isles-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
27000 MWF
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
PAR 301

Course Description

We begin with a two-week introduction to the kind of human expression that is our subject matter, folklore: traditional, stylized, artful performances like games, jokes, pranks, verbal epithets, and so on that people employ in the course of everyday interpersonal and general community socializing. We then move on to the actual material of particular interest in this course, folklore of the British Isles. We make no attempt to cover thoroughly such a vast topic, of course, but instead select five representative examples of British folklore that have been well studied by folklorists and examine them in some depth and breadth?or as many of them as we can fit into the fourteen-week long semester. These five kinds of British folklore are (1) a body of traditional tales that flourished in early Celtic Ireland and that treat events supposedly taking place from before the birth of Christ up to the eleventh century A.D.; (2) folksong of the English-speaking British Isles from about 1400 to about 1850; (3) dramatic activities associated with recurring ?ritualistic? occasions like New Year?s Day, All Hallow?s Eve, and Harvest Home that ranged from simple group procession around fixed neighborhood locations to the performance of a more complex ?mummers? play? with speaking parts and even a plot; this play?s most vibrant period was the latter eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries; (4) children?s traditional play genres (like games and riddles); and (5) post-Industrial Revolution homemade poetry from England?s industrial north composed by working-class people about local or regional places, personnel, and events. In each case, we seek not only a familiarity with the topic?s conventions of textual form, content, and style but also an understanding of the material?s significance in its natural context-of-use.

ATTENDANCE: Please note that faithful class attendance is required. I take roll first thing each day, and more than three semester absences during roll call will adversely affect your grade. And you cannot pass the course with more than five absences. You should also be a thorough, accurate taker of class notes, since there is no textbook of the conventional sort and the information on which you'll write your papers and your final examination is available only in lectures.


Course packet at Speedway Publishing, Dobie Mall. Also recommended is a writer?s handbook as reference work for Standard Written English mechanics. Any one will do..


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