Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 2005: Judges Report

Article excerpt

The Award was presented by the President of The Folklore Society, Professor Will Ryan, on 8 November at The Warburg Institute, after the lecture by Professor Sioned Davies, School of Welsh, Cardiff University "From Manuscript to Multiplex: Recreating the Mabinogi."

The number of books submitted this year was smaller than in recent years, and so was the shortlist, of eight books only; hopefully this will prove to be only a temporary blip. Once again the Judges had to regretfully rule out one book, Roy Palmer's Folklore of Warwickshire (Tempus), because it was only an expanded reprint of an earlier publication, although it is another welcome example of this author's very useful series of regional studies.

Of the short-listed books, Richard Bauman's A World of Others" Words (Blackwell) is a valuable contribution to the theory of narrative studies by an experienced scholar, which will be of particular use to the more advanced student.

Michael Freeman's Victorians and the Prehistoric (Yale University Press) is a substantial scholarly study of cultural history; it has no direct bearing on folklore, but the judges felt that its subject and Freeman's analysis suggest some useful comparisons with the rise of anthropology and its interface with early folklore studies.

Janet Bord's Footprints in Stone (Heart of Albion) is the latest of her many books for the general reader, assembling material from many sources on some particular topic--in this case, marks said to be footprints left by supernatural beings. It is world-wide in scope and contains useful comments; the references, while not exhaustive, will be adequate for the readership envisaged.

Simon Evans's Stopping Places is produced by the University of Hertfordshire Press, the main European publisher of works on gypsies. It recalls the way of life of travellers who came for seasonal work in Kentish hop-fields. Although relatively slight and non-analytical, it is a usefully informative work for the general reader, with good photographic illustrations. …

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