from Fairy Tales, Folklore, Fables, Nursery Rhymes,
Myths, Legends, Bible and Classics

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(excerpts from posts)
(If you want to retell any of the stories listed below, be sure to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain)

1) I have already printed an article by our own Doug Lipman:
and a useful short text Types of the Folktale by Wolf and Levy

2) 1. Fables
2. Noodleheads, Simpletons, and Fools
3. Animal Tricksters
4. Folk Legends
5. Saint Legends
6. Dragons and Beasties
7. Wonder Tales/Fairy Tales
8. Heroes
9. Myths

3) This very useful page sets out brief explanations and descriptions of many terms and theories used in studying folklore: Origins and Diffusion of Folktales; Elements of Folktales; and the various categories of tales, including myth etc. A good introduction to anyone exploring the range of tales or beginning to wonder about all the connections between them.

A doctoral essay giving a useful overview and comparison, in part B, of the various approaches of some folklore theorists: Marshall McLuhan, Walter Ong, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Vladimir Propp, Stith Thompson, Max Lüthi, Bruno Bettelheim, Maria Tatar, and Jack Zipes.

And of course everyone should know Tim Jennings' Folktale Category History rant: Tim Jennings' irreverent and vigorous introduction to the various approaches folklorists have taken to theorising about folktale origins and categories.

A glossary of folktale terms.

Here's another glossary of terms - brief and incomplete, but perhaps useful.

4) Stith Thompson wrote a fantastically useful book called The Folktale. It's a 450-page distillation of the type index, plus lots of other stuff. It's not a type index itself, but a thorough survey of the types. It goes through the individual types and cites the main plots and variations. It's a book that can be read rather than just used as a reference, and it's well worth having.

Another survey is The Science of Folklore by Alexander Krappe. He's wonderfully scathing about many other folklore theorists. It too is quite an old book, but reasonably common to find.

5) Some of these are in the "pretests" on the storytelling pages of The Institute of Texan Cultures where I work:
When the page opens, a little banner pops up. Click on "Kinds of Storytelling" on the banner and take the test for fun, or, if you like, scroll past the few questions and read the definitions. Academic? I dunno. I wrote them myself; tried to be as clear and specific as I could. There are three "pretests" on that site, and bunches of y'all scored 100 on them all a few years back when I first announced it

(This web page updated 5/9/03)


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