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Course Agenda

*Please note that, in most cases, the direct link to an article or other kind of resource is posted in this course. In a number of instances, the direct link is to JSTOR, since that is where a number of folklore studies journals are archived. Please see the note on for more information on successfully accessing it and other repositories.


Bascom, William. 1965. The Forms of Folklore: Prose Narratives. Journal of American Folklore 78: 3-20. JSTOR

For more on possible ways to consider the inter-relationships of the forms of folklore see also: Littleton, C. Scott. 1965. A Two-Dimensional Scheme for the Classification of Narratives. Journal of American Folklore 78(307): 21-27. DOI: 10.2307/538100. JSTOR.

Another essay that works well with Bascom’s “Forms of Folklore” is his essay on the four functions of folklore: Bascom, William. 1953. Four Functions of Folklore. Journal of American Folklore 66(262): 333-349. DOI: 10.2307/536411. JSTOR.

Labov, William, and Joshua Waletzky. 1967. “Narrative Analysis: Oral Versions of Personal Experience.” In Essays on the Verbal and Visual Arts: Proceedings of the 1966 Annual Spring Meeting of the American Ethnological Society, 12-44. Edited by June Helm. American Ethnological Society. Moodle.

Laudun, John. 2012. “Talking Shit” in Rayne: How Aesthetic Features Reveal Ethical Structures. Journal of American Folklore 125(497): 304–326. Project MUSE.

Introduction to Legend Study

Seemann, Charlie. 1981. The “Char-Man”: A Local Legend of the Ojai Valley. Western Folklore 40/3: 252-260. JSTOR.

For more on haunted bridges:

Ellis, Bill. 1989. Death by Folklore: Ostension, Contemporary Legend, and Murder. Western Folklore 48(3): 201-20. JSTOR.

As a nice follow-up to the Satanic Cult legends that were widely popular in the U.S.A. during the late eighties, and continue to bubble up even to the present moment, take a look at this post on Cracked. While the post itself obviously has a good deal of fun at the expense of the video it examines, the video itself is an interesting document.

For more on Satanic cult rumors: Victor, Jeffrey. 1990. Satanic Cult Rumors as Contemporary Legend. Western Folklore 49/1 (Contemporary Legends in Emergence): 51-81. DOI: 10.2307/1499482. JSTOR.

Active Legends in 2017


Fine, Gary Alan. 1992. Introduction. Manufacturing Tales: Sex Money Contemporary Legends, 1-40. University of Tennessee Press.

Slender Man

Parkinson, Justin. 2014. The origins of Slender Man. BBS News Magazing (June 11). Link.

Peck, A. 2015. Tall, Dark, and Loathsome: The Emergence of a Legend Cycle in the Digital Age. Journal of American Folklore 128/509: 333-348. MUSE.

Tolbert, Jeffrey. 2013. “The sort of story that has you covering your mirrors”: The Case of Slender Man. Semiotic Review 2 (Monsters). Link.

Frank, R. 2015. Caveat Lector: Fake News as Folklore. Journal of American Folklore 128/509: 315-332. MUSE.

Ellis, B. 2015. What Bronies See When They Brohoof: Queering Animation on the Dark and Evil Internet. Journal of American Folklore 128/509: 298-314. Muse.

Of Orality and Literacy

Coming Up

Jason, Heda. 1971. Concerning the “Historical” and “Local” Legends and Their Relatives. Journal of American Folklore 84/331: 134-144. JSTOR.

Baker, Ronald L. 1972. The Role of Folk Legends in Place-Name Research. Journal of American Folklore 85(338): 367-373. DOI: 10.2307/539325. JSTOR.

Bennett, Gillian. 1989. “Belief Stories”: The Forgotten Genre. Western Folklore 48/4: 289-311. DOI: 10.2307/1499544. JSTOR.

Turner, Patricia. 1993. I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African-American Culture. University of California Press. PDF.

Ideas and/as Metaphors

Dundes, Alan. 1971. Folk Ideas as Units of Worldview. Journal of American Folklore 84/331: 93-103. JSTOR.

Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. 1980. Conceptual Metaphor in Everyday Language. The Journal of Philosophy 77/8: 453-486.DOI: 10.2307/2025464. JSTOR.