Folklore: Kate Requests Some Help!

This coming fall, I am teaching a folklore class. It is a somewhat overwhelming prospect since, although the course was previously taught, I have nothing to work with (including no textbook) except a course description.

Consequently, I am preparing the course from scratch which is a tad overwhelming! (It doesn't help that I am one of those people who doesn't feel comfortable teaching something unless I thoroughly and comprehensibly understand it--as in, I could write a book about it and go on lecture tours. Unfortunately, most of my own folklore studies have been with European folklore rather than American folklore. Some overlap but not as much as you might think.)

According to the course description, the course involves comparisons between folklore and literature. This is slightly different than my original understanding (in which I thought I was going to be teaching the history, typology, collection methods, interpretation, and analysis of folklore in a 100-level course). It is not an unwelcome realization, but I'm now in the position of gathering not just folklore examples but examples of past and contemporary literature which utilize folklore!

Both the folklore, and the literature, should be (mostly) New England based (that is, written in New England or about New England--for the purposes of this project, I am including upstate New York as "New England"; this allows me to use "Rip Van Winkle").

Sooooo, if you have any suggestions, please send them along! I'd be interested in media examples as well (yes, I am using Buffy when I discuss vampires). And material outside of New England is okay too since I can always compare and contrast New England writers/material to other writers/material (for instance, I will be comparing Buffy to Dracula to the New England perception of vampires: all surprisingly different!).

Muchas gracias!

For those who are interested, I will be posting the last chapter of Darcy's P.O.V. in the next few days.


FelixAndAva said...

Can't forget Stephen King for vampires and other folklorish creatures, and most of his work is set in Maine, for bonus points. :-)

You might also want to read some of Jan Harold Brunvand's books or check out, both of which are about urban legends (aka modern folklore).

jennie w. said...

Are you going to talk about "Twilight"?


Kate Woodbury said...

Hi, Jennie! Actually, I was thinking of using it :) I'm not a huge fan, as I'm sure you've figured out. But I do think Meyers captured our culture's fascination with vampires. Of course, her version of vampires isn't European OR New England Yankee and strict vampire fans get really upset that Edward "sparkles." Still, she apparently depicts the whole danger-blood thing which is really what vampirism is all about.